Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ireland Scouting Trip Update (Video)

This is my first video blog but I thought it would be nice to change things up a bit.  I hope you enjoy and if you have any feedback what so ever or any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Thank you for taking the time to hear what all I will be doing over this next month in Ireland.

(If you want to view the video on a larger scale click the video itself once it starts playing and it will take you to

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Journey of Faith (Ireland update)

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
~Mother Teresa

It was during a time of prayer that we decided as a team the Lord was calling us on a "faith journey."  A faith journey really just means that we decided to take three days and be lead by the Lord as to where we were to go and what we were to do in those days, completely relying on Him without our own planning or preparation.  We felt that the Lord wanted us to follow Saint Patrick's Trail and hit some of the significant points on this trail, and that the key to our guidance was to worship the Lord everywhere He took us.  What we were to do at these places other than worship and where we were to lay our head at night, we didn't know.  Needless to say we left having no idea what we were getting into and were so expectant of the Lord to provide... and as always He went above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

Day one began in a town called Armagh in Northern Ireland and we felt that we were to visit two different Cathedrals of Saint Patrick, one of them being Protestant and the other being Catholic.  At the Protestant Cathedral we felt we were to worship outside in their garden and this was really significant to our journey because our first worship was to be in a garden and the first fellowship/worship between man and God was in a garden.  With our spirits filled up by the planning of the Lord, we went on over to one of the most beautiful Cathedrals I have ever been in.

It was here at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh that we first began to notice the favor of the Lord.  At this beautiful Catholic Cathedral we were allowed as "Protestants" to worship in the sanctuary with an acoustic guitar.  I don't know how many of you understand the favor of this, but this just simply does not happen and yet God made a way for it.  I don't even know how to describe the emotion that I felt as we began to lift our voices to the Lord in the midst of such a breath-taking Cathedral, but it was one I will never forget.

As if this wasn't enough we continued on our faith journey through Newry and did some worship there before ending day one in Newcastle, or so we thought this was where we were going to stay.  When we arrived at Newcastle, Jaimie began to contact every bed and breakfast possible with no vacancy being the only response.  Eventually she contacted a place right outside of Newcastle that just so happened to be a Christian center but they weren't taking anyone either.  By the grace of God though, the owner of this center asked who we were.  After explaining our situation to him and telling him a bit about us he decided that they would house us, but he wasn't sure if they had rooms for us because of a local Bible college that was staying there for the week.  We decided this is where the Lord wanted us that night and even if we were to sleep on some floors, at least we had a roof over our head.  God is so much bigger than we understand, and when we pulled up to the center it was not just any old building... it was the Castlewellan Castle!

The owner began to tell us as we arrived that for some reason the Bible college had left one wing of the castle open and he began to explain that He knew it was the Lord having ordained our stay before the beginning of time.  Needless to say not only did we stay there that night, but we were invited and decided to stay there both nights of our journey and not only that... they allowed us to stay in the beautiful castle above for free!  Like I said, God's favor and provision had fallen into our laps on this faith journey and for good reason.  So much else happened here but it would take too long to go into detail about it, so if you want to know more please ask cause I would love to share.

Day two began and while it was super significant too, it would take forever to explain the whole journey so I am just going to continue picking the main points that stand out right now (again if you want to hear more I would love to share so please do ask).  On day three we were to end our journey at the end of Saint Patrick's trail which was in a place called Bangor Northern Ireland.  It was here that God's favor continued to pour out and it was here that the perfect completion to our three day faith journey came to fruition.

We showed up at the doorstep of Bangor Abbey, which is rich in missionary history, in the pouring rain and the doors were locked.  Knocking on the front door we found no response until the director of the abbey just so happened to walk out the side door as he was going home for the day.  He saw us in the rain and invited us in for a quick chat.  After we explained who we were and what we were doing he decided to give us a quick tour at the end of which we asked if it would be alright for us to worship in the abbey.  He agreed and told us that he had to leave for a bit but trusted us alone in the abbey to worship (which again never happens for a director of one of the oldest abbey's in Ireland to leave a group of strangers in there alone).  Not only this but after a conversation with some of the team, he decided that he would come back and perform a private communion ceremony with us using liturgy from Iona (which is the community that produced the book of Kells, highly significant to missional history)! 

Right there front and center of the above picture is where we were able to celebrate communion as a family and it was one of the most heartfelt Eucharists that I have ever been able to partake in.  Again it is so hard for me to put into words the emotions that were stirring inside of me at the taking of the bread and the wine, the significance of which I will never be able to describe with worldly language.  But there is no doubt in my mind that communion as a family on the third day of our faith journey, in one of the oldest missional communities in Ireland, was the perfect end.  What started in a garden, ended in a garden... and for us what started in a garden, ended in remembrance of what Jesus accomplished in that garden.  I will never forget what all the Lord blessed us with in those three days... and it still wasn't even fully over because our God is one of detail to the good desires on the hearts of His children.

One of the final blessings that the Lord allowed us to be a part of before our journey was over, was the opportunity to do something in this abbey that had been on my "bucket list" for ages.

If you take a look up at the back center of the abbey you can see over 200,000 pipes that are a part of an organ that is almost 1,000 years old.  For so long on my bucket list has been the desire to play a real organ in a Cathedral, and never in my life did I think it would be one as ancient and significant as this one... that's right, the favor of the Lord prevailed once again and I was able to play that very organ you see depicted in the picture above!

We ended our time and back at the base in Rostrevor we debriefed our journey by asking ourselves what the Lord had spoke to us at every place we worshiped.  While I won't write down the significant revelations that had been placed upon my heart during each session, I want you to know that one of the greatest things I did take away is this... The Lord loves His children dearly and truly cares about the details and desires of our hearts.  He truly desires for us to be cared for deeply and all He asks of us is to place our faith and obedience in Him by listening to His voice and then walking it out.  God is good all the time.

If you have any more specific questions about this three day faith journey, I would love to share more with you, but for now I will leave it at this.  Place your faith and trust in Him and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Delusion of Degradation (part 3)

"Most people are other people.  Their thoughts are someone else's opinions,
their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
~ Oscar Wilde

To what might Oscar Wilde referring... our IDENTITY or lack there of.  So many people live in the shadow of others or let others define who they are and how they should live.  They live in the wake of others experiences and others revelation... They know not who they are, who they are meant to be, or even what they could become.

If you have been following along in this series "The Delusion of Degradation," I have described in the first two parts about a season I felt called into by the Lord of diving deep into the whole Word of God to find out why bad things happen, who are the poor, widowed, orphaned, and oppressed, and anything else revolving around these issues.  Not even halfway through the first book of the Bible (Genesis) I began to discover the source for all of this and it is something I began to tap into during Part 2.  

To recap quickly what I am referring to, in Part 2 I described how man was never meant to be the judge between good and evil, and yet when man chose to eat from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil," we tapped into something that wasn't ours.  To go deeper into this, I have began to understand that we as people, when we took in the knowledge which wasn't meant to be ours, we actually began to take on an IDENTITY that was never meant to be ours.

The root issue that I have began to see in the Word of God between man and God and good versus evil is the issue of identity.  This idea struck me so deeply that I have began to see it's exposure in the Word of God rather frequently, and I now believe this is the main thing we must focus on to answer and understand the questions that fueled this search in the first place.  It is when we are not walking in the identity that God gave us that we begin to walk in the path which was not intended for us.  It is also when we begin to be deceived about the identity of God that we begin to walk away from the truths of life.  

I strongly believe that when we discover our original design from God, which is our true identity in Christ, and when we truly begin to see God for who He is in His fullness, we will begin to see the goodness of God and His blessings flourish on this earth.  I have seen the truth of this already many times in the Word and in my own life, and I know that as we continue this search it will become even more evident to us all.  But before I begin sharing these things, I want to end here for a time of self reflection.  I strongly encourage you to question the things I have just spoken of and reflect on your own experience, your own life, and what you are reading in the Word to see if you find truth in this.  

I don't want this series to be my own revelation from God or my own reflections.  I want your input, your questions, and your discussion.  I strongly encourage you to reflect on what has been said and ask the questions, share what's on your heart when you think of these issues and let us walk in true fellowship (which the Bible refers to as iron sharpening iron) as we discover the truths about life.  Please contact me on my web page and write feedback or questions or even at the bottom of this blog if you have clicked the link that took you to the Blogger website.  However you want to contact me, I want to hear your thoughts.  I love you and thank you for continuing to follow my blog, I miss you all.

"We know what we are.  But not what we may be."
~ William Shakespeare

Friday, September 2, 2011

Focus on Him

1 Peter 5:6-7 "And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble 
yourself under His mighty hand by casting all of your cares on Him because
He care for you."

We have hit the ground running and what a blessing it has been. What have we done? Well on our own we have done nothing except worship the Lord everywhere we go in the city and just ask the Holy Spirit what He wants us to do. What is the result? We have been blessed to see two lost souls come to know the Lord on the first day and have been able to build relationships in all of the places we have gone to minister to the Lord.

 It is crazy the results and the beauty of life when we take ourselves out of the equation and just focus on God. On Sunday we were led to a small church by the Lord and it just so happened the church is connected with the community we are going to in Northern Ireland, not to mention that this church has recently been focusing on missions and just a week into this, the Lord brings them a missions team from America out of no where with no previous knowledge. God is so much bigger than we can imagine and so much more committed to us and this world than we are or ever will be.

One of the craziest things that we have been able to do so far is what I would call prophetic mapping for intercession in which we asked the Lord where in the city He wanted us to go and what He wanted us to do (we should always be strategic in our times of intercession to be most effective, and this is just one way of doing that). This led us to a boat used during the potato famine that brought hope to a hurting people and to two Cathedrals which were key for releasing the sound of heaven amongst the land (which happened to be a word we got in Hawaii) and for planting the original missional communities led by St. Patrick, whose model we are using for the community we felt led to come here and plant. It has been such a blessing to arrive at the land with no plan other than to minister to the Lord and within the first week He has continuously showed us that He has a plan for us and will guide us daily.

There is so much I can say about this first week but I honestly don't even know where to start and I am super overwhelmed by the goodness of God so I would just be continuing to ramble haha... If you would like to hear more please leave a comment or email me and I will gladly share more, but just know that God is so good and wherever He leads you, it will be the place you are meant to be. It will not always be easy (and it's not always easy here), but it will always be worth it! Trust in the Lord and know that He is faithful. I love you all, be in touch!