God Size

The last few months here have been crazy.  Literally speaking, they’ve been such a whirlwind, that every time I’ve even thought of writing, I’ll forget about 10 minutes later because I’m on to something different.  But tonight, I felt like I had to write….there’s too much to say all in one post, but this message keeps coming through different ways, and so it must be something that is important.  So here goes.

Have you ever been faced with something where you thought, “how am I supposed to pray for this!?”…you battle within yourself whether you should pray for a miracle, or not, because you “know” that it won’t happen probably and that whatever it is in front of you will just turn out the way things “normally” turn out, whether that be good or bad, but either way you pray it’s not really going to be different.  Have you been there?  I have, and I’m sure some of you have too.  You’re like….you trust in God, but really when the odds look so grim you just don’t know if you should pray that God will perform a miracle or if you should just accept the fate & pray for God to give peace.

Well…..here’s a question for you: How well do you know God?

Really, how well do you KNOW Him?  The earth is finite, right?  Meaning there’s only limited outcomes, options, possibilities, etc.  But God is NOT.  He created the earth, so He doesn’t live within the confines of our existence, He lives in the freedom of His!  So when we pray, are we underestimating the power of God by not even asking for something bigger than we could even imagine?

This spring, things were going along just “normal” until one day I went to work & they told me that I was being laid off.  Oddly enough, I wasn’t devastated.  Honestly I’d been having a conversation with God about what was next….I wasn’t sure that where I was then was where He would always want me to be…so when I heard that I would be leaving in a month, it was a little bit of an “okay God, now what…” moment.  Financially I was okay for a little while, so I decided that since I had so many things planned for the summer, I would wait on God for just the right thing, and not pursue another position until the middle of August.

At the beginning of July, I visited my dad in TX, and finished a book called “Sacred Waiting” by David Timms.  It seemed that book was perfectly timed, by hitting on my period of waiting that had just been semi-imposed upon me by getting laid off.  I went back to MN to prepare for an art show before heading out on another vacation with some friends (which is another story all in itself) and two days before I left I got a strange call.  It was one of my old supervisors, from the job I had just left.  He said that his wife had met a guy at a concert, and that through random conversation, he mentioned they were looking for someone like me and so she mentioned my name and now that guy was trying to get in touch with me about a job.  That morning, I researched the organization, called & left a message and two hours later got a call back. They wanted me to come in for an interview 2 hours later.  Here’s the scenario: I’m in my PJ’s at 1pm, I don’t have a current resume, don’t have a printer if I DID have a current resume, wasn’t sure that I had any clean business clothes to wear and was then living an hour away from the office….so naturally I said “of course I can make it by 3pm”. lol.  I stood in line behind three 10 year old girls at the public library to print off my resume, and barely made it in.

To make the rest of the story short, I was offered the job the next day.  It was outstanding.  I feel so blessed, and I know that this kind of thing does NOT happen that often, but it was like….God was reminding me that He does things in HIS timing and way, not necessarily ours.  So this weekend, we’re hosting an event, hoping to draw in 5,500 people! We’ll be sharing the gospel and feature some great musicians!  And through the planning, I’ve been nervous, wondering how it’ll all turn out, what will happen, who will come, etc.  And sitting here tonight, being reminded of God’s miraculous power through the book of John, I’m finding peace knowing that God’s got it.

He’s greater than anything we can imagine, and so He’s capable of doing more than we can imagine.  We just need to stop underestimating Him and closing doors where He wants to show us His miracles!  Where does God want to do a miracle in your life, or challenge you to trust in Him more?  As you think on that, also remember us this Saturday in prayer.  Pray that people will pack the house, pray that people will respond to the gospel, pray that the Lord would do something that we could have never imagined!  Hallelujah!

(If you want to watch our concert streaming live, tune in Saturday at 7pm Central at: http://livestre.am/16gGw)  

Branches & Vines

This past weekend I did a lot of cleaning.  Inside my house as well as some inside my soul.  While emptying out a book closet, I came across an old journal that my great grandmother had written, telling a bit of her story of marriage, grief, hardships & the faithfulness of God throughout each moment.  It was a precious reminder of how the Lord is faithful throughout the generations.  How blessed I felt to know that He was working so many years ago, while forming the foundation that I would grow into through this family.

On Sunday, I visited the church that I had read about in her writing, that my family had been diligent to help begin.  The worship felt new this time.  Knowing a part of the history of how these settlers, new & shocked by the un-true tellings of the reality that would face them on the land that awaited them.  Their hearts were on giving the next generation a hope & future….even if that meant really hard work & struggles.  Even if that meant starting your own church because faith in God was that important.  Even if that meant losing many dreams you had for yourself so that dreams your children dreamt could come true.

At the church though, the sermon was about the Vine & Branches section of John 15.  I normally really appreciate this verse, but as I had been going through a lot of things that were left after my mother passed away, I was saddened because it was like….well, I understand that God would cut off branches that weren’t producing fruit, but what about those that WERE producing fruit?  Why would he cut those off early?  Thankfully, when these thoughts were mumbling through my little brain, they were caught by the next phrase the pastor spoke….about God pruning the branches that were producing fruit because by doing that sometimes the fruit other branches produce will grow larger & that the quality of the fruit might become better.

This made me wonder about my life right now, and those lives of my siblings & friends.  People who we’ve known, outstanding characters & faithful to the Lord, those people who were cut off from life seemingly too early to understand.  It hurt, and still does many days, but it seems like this verse would flow with this course of pruning.  Somethings that I’ve done this year, never would have been done had my mother been around.  Other things I’ve seen my friends/siblings do would never have happened if their friends or family had been around….it doesn’t make it feel better that they’re not here to see these amazing things forming in us, but knowing that somehow their leaving earth spurred a new life inside of us is inspiring.

I don’t know what my whole thought here really comes to, but maybe just knowing that God prunes fruitful branches sometimes to bear bigger fruits on the branches that are left, makes me wonder….what kind of fruit does he see as possible out of our lives?  What will be coming through the pruning?  It doesn’t always feel good to be pruned, but then again who are we as branches to tell the Gardener which branches He should prune?  He knows best, for “…He who promised is faithful.” (Romans 10:23)

Dressed in Striped Pajamas

Tonight I was sick….slightly, but feeling not quite myself just the same.  I knew I wanted to blog tonight, since much has been floating around my mind, but it wasn’t until just this moment that I really knew what I wanted to say.


This month I’m going on a journey of prayer journaling….and before I began writing tonight, I wanted to “relax” and watch a movie. Well I chose the movie “Boy in Striped Pajama’s”.  If you’ve seen it, you know that it leaves you feeling very sad, sad for the world, for the boy, for the times when we just don’t know any better…. and it makes me want to pray.


“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8) If you know anything about the holocaust, you know that there were many, many people who cried out to God, seeking His help, protection, wisdom & mercy. God wants us to do this, to pour out our hearts to him when we are scared, ashamed, unsure & hurting.  He will protect us, though sometimes He protects our hearts & souls over our earthly bodies.

We know this is true, that God desires to hold us in his Hands, and that He will answer us and come to us because of what Christ testified by his mouth…”‘Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”’

And yet, sometimes we have to walk through horrendous situations.  The people of the holocaust were thrust into something they had little to no control over, they were tortured, beaten, starved, mocked and killed for just daring to live as people that Christ created them to be.  Many of them lost hope, feeling abandoned….but still there were some, like Corrie Ten Boom who saw her situation in the prison camps, as a time that she could tell others about God & his mercy. She understood what is written about in 2 Corinthians 2:14 where it says “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”  She, being lead as a captive into a place shrouded by death, held to her faith and overcame the smell of flesh with the fragrance of everlasting life.  ….. A faith like that deserves pause. ….. A faith like that, is one to make you wonder about the God who calls a witness like her out…He is a mighty God, a faithful God, an everlasting God.

Finally, as we seek him, praise him, confess our fears and hopes to him, we will see…maybe not today, but one day we will see…what His glorious plans for our lives will be.  It is then and on our journey to that end, that we can joyfully sing with David through Psalms 30:11-12, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Amen.

Sunrise to Sunset

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
   apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
   though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
   to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
   I am the LORD, and there is no other. –Isaiah 45:5-6
 
This morning, as I do many mornings, I watched the sunrise develop into something exquisite over the frozen lake.  It shone bright orange, purple & blue streaks which each contrasted with the others so vibrantly.  I’m not sure why, but watching a sunrise or sunset like the one this morning always reminds me of God’s faithfulness. It’s like he’s there, trying to remind us that from beginning to end, He is there. He will be faithful.  Though the day might bring hardship, toil & pain, He remains. He draws us towards him, to find beauty within his  creation, to find beauty within the day He has created for us. He wants us to know that He is bigger than whatever is out there, whatever we go through, whatever we face….He is with us.  He is in the dark, in the light, in the wind and in the calm. He is there and will always be pursuing us to bring us towards His loving arms.  The colors of this sunset are like the many facets of God’s character. He is both loving, just, compassionate, holy, gentle & yet we should fear Him.  Oh how all those facets and colors come together to form such a wonderful picture of who God is, and that we can be reminded of it every morning and every evening….that God is faithful.  

A Christmas Hope

This past week, my Papa & I were asked to sing Christmas carols at a local assisted living home.  We accepted the invitation, and began to choose songs that we wanted to share.  He would play the mandolin, and we would both sing.  We thought how nice it would be to have my younger brother play his guitar with us, and thought he probably wouldn’t want to but we asked anyway.  You see, because my mom was such a support to Tyler & his music, he hasn’t really wanted to pick up his guitar since she passed away.  It was an absolutely delightful shock to me to hear that he wanted to play with us!  I was so happy!

We stood up in front of the older crowd of residents, barely having practiced singing together except for the five minutes prior, and began to sing.  My dad would tie in meanings of Christmas and thoughts from the carols we’d sing.  During one of the first songs, we sang something about the angels singing with us, or seeing us from afar.  At that moment, I imagined my mom crying in heaven, not with sadness but with delight, to see the three of us together, singing & playing music together.  I thought about how happy she would have been to hear us all together, and how pleased she would be that we didn’t pass on singing.

This all led to another thought….one of hope.  I wanted to have my mom with me so quick right then, pinching back tears that screamed to be set free from the confines of my eyes.  Yet in that same instant, the hope arose that I will see her again soon, and it is because of the birth that we were singing about that I could have that hope.  It was a future hope of a fulfilled promise.  A promise God revealed many thousands of years ago, that was brought to fulfillment through the birth of Christ.

Through the Spirit, Mary a humble girl said “yes” to doing God’s will, for waiting on Him to provide a miracle through her.  An unsettling situation to be sure, she waited with hope that God would be true to His word once again.  When Jesus was born a joy filled her & spilled out to each of us through the Son. We can have joy in the hope that His birth proclaims.  There is now a way for us to be joined to the Father.  What a thing to celebrate, what an act of love, bringing joyful hope to a people stirred with unrest.

His birth brought love to the world, joy to the heart, hope to the mind and peace to our soul.  Though some days we all feel unloved, discouraged, defeated & distressed, we can know that God LOVES us, and because of that love we can find JOY because God gave PEACE to our tormented souls, which reminds us of the HOPE that Christ’s birth brings.  So this Christmas, let’s celebrate, I mean REALLY celebrate, not only the birth of Christ, but everything that His birth represents!