The past few weeks have brought unique struggles, but have also served as huge challenges to evaluate the direction that God is sending me.  I have been praying a lot recently about the future because God has shown me that the time is NOW to become what He is calling me to be.  There is no waiting, nor is there time to walk slowly through the process.

Sometimes it is exciting to think about the future; and often excited is only one of the emotions that we feel amongst many others.  When lived with God, life is always a joy; and even in the struggle, the yoke is easy when shared with the Lord.

I spent a few hours today with my friend Bonnie, who has always been a huge inspiration to me.  Not only is she gifted in evangelism, but she has always been an integral part of so many people’s lives because of the power of prayer.

I have never known anyone who was so intimate with Jesus.  She can tell miraculous story after story of the things that God has done in and through her life; not because she is proud…quite the opposite.  She humbly brings God glory in every moment of her life.  She dances and sings in the presence of God, and when you are with her, it is as if you were sitting in the presence of Jesus Himself.  His joy just radiates from her being and pours out like honey in every word that she says.  Today I did nothing but simply listen to her.  I felt like Mary at the feet of Jesus, just allowing the healing to come in.

This morning I was reminded of the woman that I want to be.  My deepest desire is to be that close to Jesus.  I want to tell story after story of what God has done in and through my life.  If I think I have reached a level with Him I must think again; there is so much deeper to go.  This morning I read in Numbers 12:8 of God’s message to Aaron about Moses.  Part of the verse says, “I speak to him (Moses) face to face, clearly, and not in riddles!  He sees the Lord as He is.”  I pray that God might answer this one desire of my heart:  that I might truly know the Lord and see Him as He is.

So today I had the opportunity once again to be inspired by my friend Bonnie.  May God use me to be an encouragement and an inspiration to others as she has been to me.


Results! (December 16, 2013)

I wanted to send a quick update to let you know that your prayers had a profound effect!  On Saturday at the event we had 29 people accept Christ!  Also, yesterday at the church service we had 146 people there and around 15 people accepted Christ!  It was packed; standing room only!

Keep praying for Ambato, especially during this next month while all of us are visiting our families.  Pray that everything would keep growing and that our pastors and Chad and Amanda will have extraordinary strength to cover all the bases while we are gone!

Thank you so much for your support!  Hope to see several of you while I am in the States!  Hermitage Church of the Nazarene – our director Brian Tibbs will be coming to speak at your church in January!  I’m excited for you to meet him!  Make sure you make it to that service!

Have a blessed day!

Free From Accusation

It’s amazing how the attitude of my heart changes during my times of prayer.  At the beginning of each prayer time, it is easy for me to pass judgment on myself and have, in my mind, great evidence.  However, I have come to recognize that it is the character of Satan, not God, to accuse and guilt trip.  By the end, I am confident that my hand is firmly in the grip of my Father.

I was just thinking last night, that if I were in God’s position looking at myself, I would not be so forgiving.  I would be tempted to focus my attention elsewhere.  However, for some reason that I will never understand, God believes in me and in who He created me to be despite my weaknesses.  He continues to call me forward, and He continues to forgive me when I flounder around a bit.

In fact, if I were to understand the depth of God’s belief in me, I wouldn’t question or doubt anything.  I wouldn’t be afraid of anything.  After all, if God is backing us up, who in heaven or earth or below the earth could ever win a battle against us?

God showed me this morning that when I am in Him, I am free from accusation.  It doesn’t mean that I do everything perfectly all the time.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t need to ask forgiveness from others.  It does, however, mean that I only answer to God.  The only thing I must say to Satan is, “Get out of here!”  It means that my freedom comes from God and not from the responses and opinions of others.  It means that I can trust God in this journey to mold and shape me how He desires, because He alone knows what is to come.  I don’t have to make it happen myself or figure out for myself the way to go.  I can, in my mind and heart, be incredibly sure of what will happen, but I have learned that the only thing I can be sure of and need to be sure of is that my life is held securely in His hands.  Beyond that, I can trust Him with all of me…my mind, soul, and heart.  I simply choose every day to submit completely to Him.

Romans 8:33-34 says, “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own?  No one – for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself.  Who then will condemn us?  No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

I have found that God doesn’t look at me and say, “For goodness sake, Chelsea.  Why can’t you get that right?”  He looks at me and says, “We’re getting there.  Take my hand and let’s keep going forward.”  Even when the process seems to take much longer than I would like, I realize that God has His own timing for everything, even in growing.  My job is to place myself in His presence and open the door for Him to do the work.  He is for me, not against me.

Do I totally understand this?  No.  Is this one of the most difficult topics for me?  Absolutely.  I am learning.

I want to encourage you today to walk in confidence.  If you are in an active and passionate relationship with Christ, you are secure in Him.  You do not answer to anyone but Him.  The Bible says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  Stop living in defeat.  That is not the will of God for your life.  His desire for you is that you might live in the victory that has already been won by Jesus’ death on the cross.  Sin has been defeated!  YOUR sin has been defeated!  You are no longer its slave.  You are free in Christ.  Take the hand of Jesus and walk forward.  God sees your heart to love Him purely.  Your responsibility is to place yourself in God’s presence and allow the Holy Spirit total access to your heart so that HE might do the work.  And when the process doesn’t look like you think it should, continue to submit and trust.  It is not a time for condemnation, but rather another opportunity for victory.  Continue to walk in and claim that victory.  Seek Him all the more and obey.  Be encouraged today, my friend!

2-Minute, 17-Second Update

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to send a quick update to ask for prayer for two key events that are taking place today and tomorrow.

Today we have a dessert event in the park.  We have filled 200 bags with several different kinds of desserts to give out to people in the park.  We also have a drama and evangelism message planned.  We are inviting everyone to the church.  The event takes place today (Saturday) at 3pm eastern time.  Please be in prayer that God will transform lives today!

Tomorrow we have our church service and we are praying for and expecting a lot of people to come!  The children are performing a song, there will be some specials, and we will have our first all-church lunch – Christmas lunch.

So much preparation has gone into and is currently going into this weekend.  We also have our youth service tonight.

God is moving mountains in Ambato and we are all SO EXCITED for this coming year of ministry.  Thank you so much for your prayers!

And of course, check out our church’s Facebook page this next week for pictures!

You Take My Hand

This day has been a pretty discouraging day for me.  In the midst of many complicated circumstances, I allowed the devil to convince me that I was a low-life again.  I heard so many voices today speaking opinions over my life, and I became totally involved in those thoughts.  I fully prepared to enter my time of prayer tonight making list after list of the things that I want God to change in me – and that list would be long – and to be honest, I was nervous to enter God’s presence.

Then the song “Who Can Compare” by Mary Kat Ehrenzeller came on.  The words to the chorus are as follows:

And You take my hand and You guide me on

And You show me the way to life

And You lift my head and You give me hope

And You show me the way to life

It’s not to say that there aren’t some big things that God wants to change in me, but the fear to face God was wrong.  God challenges me in BIG ways, but He reminded me in a beautiful way tonight that He will take my hand, He will guide me, He will lift my head, and He is the One who gives me hope.  As my friend reminded me today, God believes in me.

As I prepare to explore the depths of God’s grace tonight and seek to be transformed by His Spirit, I wanted to share these words with you.  Perhaps you need to hear this right now.  I don’t know what circumstances you are facing, but your God will take your hand, He will guide you, He will lift your head, and He will give you hope.  He believes in you!  Be encouraged tonight, my friend!

So Much More

The closer I get to Jesus, the more I have adopted the mentality of “so much more”.  God wants to do so much more with my life.  One of the greatest enemies of the believer is the attitude of being comfortable or the belief that we are doing “enough.”

Some might look at the fact that I’m a missionary and say, “Wow, she’s doing a lot for the Kingdom.”  I look at my job as a missionary and see it as a great beginning for many other things.  A title doesn’t say anything about a life of service.  A servant’s heart that is always reaching tells the story.

We can be so prideful sometimes.  We compare ourselves to the people we want to compare ourselves to and think, “I’m doing pretty good.”  However, God will not ask us about anyone else when we stand before Him.  He will ask us about our obedience to His calling.  How did we respond to Him?

It’s about passion and perspective.  I’m learning how to try to imagine just how long eternity is, and just how short my life on earth is.  I am learning how to imagine just how big God’s love is for His people and how He longs that they would know Him and that they would burst forth with purpose.  If I could but catch His vision…there would not be an ounce of “comfortable” inside of me.  I do not sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice…in fact, how could I see any inconvenience as a sacrifice at all?

I must learn to count it all joy for the opportunity to use the short moments and years of my life here on earth to passionately live for Christ.  I must learn to see the world as He does.  If He shows me how it breaks His heart that orphans walk the streets, then I must care for orphans.  There is no question.  If He shows me that it breaks His heart that people are held captive by sex trafficking, then I must give my life to freeing those held in bondage.  Where God reveals His heart to me, it is there that I must respond.  No question.

There can be no excuses.  There can be no “God, but I don’t have the resources” or “I don’t have the time.”  Get creative.  Pray for doors to open and for the courage to run through.  God cannot simply be your priority; He must be your entire life.  In this life, we do not do great things for God.  We simply obey because of our love for Christ; because He first loved us, and because He also loves THEM.

What is God revealing to you about His heart today?  In what ways is He calling you to act?  Be challenged…be passionate…be obedient.  Step out and enter a world of miracles.  God has huge dreams for your life.  He desires SO MUCH MORE from you.  Don’t be afraid; get excited!  It is an honor to serve the King of Kings.

Passion for God’s Word

God has been calling me deeper into His Word lately…not simply to read what I think is sufficient every day, but to have a passion for it.

I am reading for the second time the book The Heavenly Man and the stories inside are unreal.  It is about a pastor from China who went through years of torture for the Gospel.  There are many things that could stand out, but the thing that is most powerful to me is his intense passion for the Bible.

When he was sixteen, no one had seen a Bible but everyone had heard about it.  The believers relied on teachings that had been passed from person to person.  This young man prayed and fasted for a very long time, and God miraculously provided him with a Bible.  He took to memorizing as much as he could and he traveled in order to preach in all the surrounding towns.  A revival took place.  He quickly became famous because he owned a Bible; he also quickly became one of the most wanted criminals in his province in China.

At one point he was placed in a hole in the ground in solitary confinement as he awaited his fate with the courts.  He prayed fervently for a Bible and again God miraculously provided one for him.  In the first ten days he read through the ENTIRE Bible and memorized 55 chapters.

There are areas in the world today where people are being persecuted and killed for their faith.  I look at myself and the reluctance I have at times to read the Bible as much as I should and wonder:  What would it take?  What would it take to be so passionate?

I have no idea what awaits me in the future.  I could live out the rest of my days comfortably, doing ministry with the favor of the vast majority of people.  However, I could live out some very difficult days in the future.  God may call me to serve in a country where it is illegal to preach the Gospel.  I may have to suffer for His name.  The question I have to ask right now is:  Am I truly taking advantage of the blessing I have right now in owning a Bible?  Am I drinking the Word in, soaking it into my life?  Am I solid in my knowledge and study habits of the Scriptures?  Do I have passion for the Word of God?

The testimonies of persecuted Christians deeply encourage and challenge me to step it up.  What about you?

Good ‘Ole Fashioned Hard Work

As kids we are asked what we want to be when we grow up.  We enthusiastically say things like:  doctor, teacher, astronaut, or the president of the United States.  As kids, the sky is the limit…except in the case of astronaut, in which there is no limit.  Dreams are beautiful and precious and special.

Then we grow up and we realize that in order to be a doctor, we have to go to school for a million years, pass through residency, and finally reach the point of joy in the profession.  Then the profession is even harder work.  To become a teacher is hard work too.  They closed down the space program, so work as an astronaut only happens in foreign countries.  To be the President of the US…well…that’s a pretty lofty goal.  To have a dream is the easy part…to make the dream happen is where reality comes in.

Most dreams have their processes to become a reality.  Some dreams have several possibilities.  However, as adults we find that there are rarely short-cuts to success that bypass hard work.  There are months, years, often decades of exhaustion with little or no result, struggling to be disciplined and remember why we wanted to do it in the first place.

I have been passing through several moments of reality with my dream.  The sad part is the realization that the work is only just beginning.  The bulk of the hard work is yet to come.  So I choose to keep the vision and to work hard every chance I get.  Why?  Because I want to be obedient to God.  Because I want to use my talents to bring Him glory.  Because it is like a fire inside of me that can never be satisfied completely until I do it with all my heart.

Have you passed through difficult times on the way to your profession?  Are you passing through difficult times right now?  Keep your head up!  Write out why you are doing what you are doing and post it on your wall.  Remember that God would not call you to something that He and you cannot do together.  Don’t give up!  Today is another opportunity to carry on with excellence.

Get Creative!

I think God is teaching me about how to handle big obstacles.  As I was praying this morning, He brought to mind our church build this next year and how we have raised a fair amount of money, but we still have a LONG way to go before we have enough to purchase the land and build a decent-sized church.  There was a particular pull on my heart strings to do something about it, but I couldn’t get past how big and impossible it seems to be.

“But what can I do about it, God?” I asked Him.  He responded, “Get creative.”

What on earth could that mean?  I don’t know.  I started to throw out all the different excuses I could think of, but before I could finish I heard Him say, “Don’t give me excuses.  Get creative.”

Do I believe that God can do the impossible?  Absolutely.  Do I believe that He could use me?  Great question.  I choose to believe that He can.

I believe that God uses creative and ambitious people to do great things for His Kingdom.  What impossible thing is God asking of you?  Get creative and step out in faith!

Just to Please God

This afternoon I had a meeting with one of our future leaders, and in the course of the conversation I realized just how incredible God is and how He changes hearts radically.

As she told me about all the decisions that she and her family are making, there was a common theme:  we are doing it to please God.  She mentioned thing after thing:  tithing, getting married after years of simply living together, being faithful in attending services, growing as leaders…all huge decisions for these new Christians, but for one reason and one reason only:  because they want to please God.

Wow…I want that to be said of every action in my life.  I don’t do the things I do because it’s the way they have always been done, or because I have been taught that they should be done a certain way.  I don’t even want to do it because I’m told I have to.  I get up in the morning, I spend time with people, I serve in the church, I reach out to people in the street and everywhere I go for one reason and one reason only:  because I want to please God.

Tonight when I enter God’s presence, I will be reminded of my first love.  I will be reminded of the whole reason I am here in this world:  just to please God.

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