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Called to Love

Exactly 19 days ago I began a prayer journey with God.  I wanted more passion in my life.  I wanted to desire Him more.  I wanted to radiate His presence in my life to those around me.

As I have told some of my contacts, it is amazing how quickly God answers that prayer.  He honors that prayer.  He loves that prayer.  He gets excited about that prayer.

But true grace from God means that He gives us what we don’t deserve and refuses to leave us where we were when He found us.  Talk about a journey of introspection.  He has taken me through the ringer.  However, today He turned my focus from me and what is going on in my life to those around me.  He reminded me that true passion and holy desire are based out of love.  Do I really love the people I am ministering to?  Do I look at people and recognize God’s unrelenting love for them, even if I don’t know them?  Do I desire opportunities to show God’s love to those around me?  Do I pray for these opportunities and for the people I will meet each day?

As we all know, love isn’t a feeling but rather an action.  I can be having a bad day, but I am still called to love those around me.  I can have a lot going on in my head, but I am still called to take notice.  I am still called to care.  We never go on vacation from following Christ.  We are either in it for the long haul or not in it at all.  And why did Jesus come?  For love.  Why do I do what I do?  Well, it certainly isn’t for the money.  It is definitely for love.  God told me today:  If you’re going to lead with love, then LEAD WITH LOVE.  How’s that for a simple and yet profound statement?

We know when someone truly loves us.  We see it in their eyes.  We see it in the way they sacrifice their time and the things that are important to them.  We see it in the little things.  We can only pretend to love someone for a short time before the truth comes out.  True love is unmistakable.

So what do I want to communicate this next year in South America?  I want to communicate love.  But first, I need to truly love the people of Ambato.  That is something that I have been praying for.  I want God’s heart for His people.  I want His heart for His city.  So Lord, teach me how to love.  Flow through me.

How about you?  Do you truly love the people around you?  Do you love your city?  Have you sought God’s heart for your city?  Do you pray for opportunities to show that love that only comes from Him?  When it comes down to it, it’s not the size of our ministry that matters to God; it’s the size of our heart and our employment of God’s love in our lives.  Don’t steal it all for yourself.  There’s more than enough to go around.  You are called to love.  So do it.

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Hold Loosely

Have you ever been offended in ministry because someone took your job away from you?  Have you ever been rejected in an idea because your leader decided to go with someone or something else?  Have you ever been upset over a difference in opinion?  Have you ever been tempted in a relationship or a friendship to become depressed because the other person is not responding like you think they should?

One of the main problems that we Christians have is how we handle the subject of ownership.  It has been the cause for many a church-split, hypocritical accusation, and broken heart.  One of the greatest lessons we can learn in life is to hold loosely.

It is a true desire that when we invest our hearts and lives into something, we want to see it through and see it done well.  Whether it is planting a church, discipling someone, or a project that we have been put in charge of – we are responsible for these things.  However, what happens when the time comes to let it go?  Or when our leader wants to make changes?  Often we feel like someone is ripping our hearts out.  We feel the need to prove ourselves worthy, whether or not the change had anything to do with our competence.  It is a human desire to be needed and wanted.  However, this can be a dangerous desire when it gets in the way of what is best for the Kingdom or when it causes us to live in codependent relationships with those we love.

We must learn to hold loosely to our ministries, our relationships, and our jobs; not because they might end and we might get hurt.  Rather, we do so because none of these things were ever really ours to begin with.  The pews were never ours in the sanctuary.  The church we planted is not ours.  Our husband/wife and children are not really ours.  The same could be said of our ministry and those we are leading.  These things and these people were entrusted to us by God and are dedicated to God.  They are His responsibility, and we need to be ready at any point to let them go.

Really, it all comes down to trust.  Do we trust God with our families, our church, our ministry, our disciples, our lives?  Do we trust that He knows how to best care for these things that we love so much?  Sometimes we can be so inwardly focused that we think He cannot possibly love these people as much as we do or we think that He will give what we have invested so much in to someone who will simply destroy what we have created.  And what if that happens?  Then the question remains:  are we living to glorify ourselves, or are we living to glorify God?

As I was struggling this week in a small way in letting go of something, I realized that this is a huge part of life.  We are forever having to let go.  I have realized that the tighter we hold onto things, the more it hurts when we must let them go.  It is more painful when the hurtful words come or we realize how much we really cannot control other people or the situations we find ourselves in.  It does not mean that we should put up more walls around our hearts and never give things our all.  Rather, we should lay everything down at the cross of Christ, pick up our own cross, and follow Him.  Our eyes should never leave Him.  Our desire should be for nothing other than Him.  And all that is left is trust:  trust that He’s got this.  Trust that He is enough and that He will always be enough.  Hold loosely.  Live sacrificially.  And always be courageous.

Update (February 20, 2014)

As I am concluding my prayer time this morning, I was moved to send an update to you.  However, I didn’t want to send a typical update that just includes our to-do list as a team and ways that you can pray.  I wanted to share with you on a more personal level what God is doing specifically in Nancy and I’s ministry and in our church.

My heart is challenged and filled with hope this morning.  Last night at our Bible Study, the Holy Spirit was so present.  I gave the lesson on qualities that a leader must have.  Inspiration flowed from those who were listening, and I can only give God glory.  One of the greatest joys as a leader is to see those you are discipling “get it”.  Light bulbs came on last night and people started shouting because God was giving them such a strong revelation.  One of the girls shared about how playing Christian music in her office has caused those in the offices near her not only to ask questions, but to start playing that same music in their offices and sing along.  One of the guys shared several instances where he is able to minister to people who are needing a touch from God and has faithfully taken the time to do so.  He testified to sensing God moving in his heart to reach out even to the drunk man sleeping on the sidewalk.  How incredible is that?

Of the contacts that I work with very directly, two have expressed the calling to be pastors and another to be a missionary.  I really believe they can be and will be.  I was moved in deep gratitude to God last night, that He would give me the opportunity to not only be a part of their stories but to guide them in this stage in their journey.  I am so excited to see what God will do in their lives.

Another contact was studying in a seminary several years ago to be a pastor, and at the point of graduation something happened and he left the church.  Now God is calling him back.  He and his wife will be attending our Encounter in less than two weeks.  His son and wife attended our last Encounter and are not only going through leadership classes in the church, but they also host a Bible Study in their home.  Their children (grown and younger) are following their example and God is moving in their lives too.

As I pray for my contacts, it is easy to see the need for God’s hand and protection over them.  Several are at crisis points in their marriages.  Several are wrestling with direction and discernment in God’s leading on their lives.  As leaders, we often need to have difficult conversations with our contacts, not to scold them, but to help them grow.  Those conversations are hard, because we can see the potential that these people have as future ministers and leaders, but it is up to them how they will respond.  It is amazing to me that God is not only entrusting us with those who will follow Christ, but He is entrusting us with those who will be POWERFUL leaders in the future, and will go on to change the story of many in Ecuador and possibly beyond.

If I could implore you to pray for our coming Encounter, please do so every chance you get.  We will not only have several from Ambato attending, but also pastors from our district and beyond.  God is getting ready to do a powerful work, and I cannot express how excited and honored I am to have a front-row seat to the action.  Nancy and I have at least 7 of our own contacts attending this upcoming Encounter with the possibility for several more signing up this week.

Pray for our team.  Cover us with God’s protection!  We need God’s presence and Spirit with us now more than ever!

Also, pray for us as we seek God’s will about the land that we will purchase to build on.  There are several options (some of which we visited yesterday), but each one would take a miracle from God.  We know that it will be a great testimony to God’s power, and we are excited to share the story.

We are regularly having over a hundred people come to our services on Sunday morning.  Can I get an AMEN?  As excited as we are to see this, we know that God wants to do SO MUCH MORE.  Please pray that God would open the floodgates in Ambato, and that our city would not only be filled with servants of God, but that it would be transformed from the inside out.  Pray that God’s glory would spill over to the rest of the world!  We are like the city on the hill right now, and God has called us to shine!

Also, in case you do not know, we also have another team in the city of Ibarra, Ecuador and they are working hard and seeing God moving in their ministry as well.  They have only been in the city for a short time, but exciting things are in store for them.  Keep them in your prayers!

Thank you so much, not only for the many different ways you have supported us financially, but also for the ways you are supporting us with your prayers.  I encourage you to keep watching our blog:  http://equipoambato.wordpress.com.  Also, follow us on Facebook:  Iglesia La Puerta Abierta de Ambato.  We keep these sites very updated, and they are both in English and Spanish.

Be blessed and encouraged today!  Thank you for reading and keeping up with all that is happening here!

No Limitations

Several years ago I had a bad experience on a horse that has given me a fear of riding them.  On top of that, I have fibromyalgia, which makes it difficult to do an activity that is physically straining like horseback riding.  Although it would be easy to use those things as excuses to stay away from horses, I have chosen not to.  Yesterday I went on a three and a half hour horseback ride – walking, trotting, and galloping.  That experience to me shined a light on some important life lessons.

Am I writing this so you will think that I am brave?  Absolutely not.  To most of you, the idea of horseback riding is probably not that big of a deal and to be truthful, I certainly didn’t feel brave in those moments of facing that fear.  I am writing this post to those who live life with limitations – and often for understandable reasons.  I want to be an overcomer, and it is important to note that being an “overcomer” isn’t simply a result of an action, but rather an attitude that one chooses to have daily.  This is a lesson that I am only recently learning, but it can be applied in countless situations for all of us.

We all have some sort of fear.  Whether it is a normal type of fear, such as the fear of heights, public speaking, or falling in love, or a little abnormal, such as the fear of butterflies – we all have an area of our lives that is difficult to face.  Not too long ago, I lived my life ruled by fear.  I played it safe on nearly every front.  However, this is an area of my life that God I have been working hard on breaking.  In destroying these fears, there is no way around them but to face them.

Someone that has taught me about facing fears is my ministry partner Nancy.  She has a rule for her life – if she is afraid of something, that something is the very thing she must do.  She was once afraid of heights, until one day she climbed to a very high place and stayed there until she was not afraid anymore.  She carries this mentality in every area of her life, and she is one of the most successful and powerful people I know.

Nancy and I often talk to people about how different we are, and one of her most common statements is, “If Chelsea is afraid of something, I make her do it.”  I have a love/hate relationship with that comment, because she challenges me on many levels.  However, I can say confidently that I am a different and stronger person today because of the influence that she has had on my life.

Now, it’s not to say that we as humans are invincible.  There are certain limitations that we all have, and we have to be smart about how we face them.  With fibromyalgia, I might not be able to jump in a kayak and face class 5 rapids within a week like some people can.  I may never be able to do that, or it may take me a lot longer to work my way up to that point.  The point is not the limitation.  The point is the attitude that we carry.

Do we live with an “I can” or an “I can’t” attitude?  If you have an “I can’t” attitude, take heart, because you don’t have to stay there.  That doesn’t have to be your story.  However, get ready to fight the battle for the long haul, because changing that mentality does not come easy and there are no short cuts.  Courage is a daily decision as well as is trust:  trust in a God who knows no limitation.  Think about that for a minute.

Consider this:  what are the stories that inspire us?  They are the stories of people who have overcome incredible odds to reach a goal.  They are those who have walked through terrible circumstances and have come out being a blessing to others.  They were at a tactical disadvantage and beat the odds.  These stories don’t come by accident.  They come through a series of choices; choices to keep pushing through rather than giving up or giving in.  Think about Helen Keller.  She went from being a deaf and blind child who could not communicate with anyone to not only earning a bachelor’s degree, but also to being a world renowned author and speaker.  And she is just one example.

I also look at her life and see how she didn’t reach those places alone.  Helen’s teacher Anne Sullivan played a significant part in breaking through the barriers and encouraging Helen to reach beyond what anyone had reached before.  If we dig deep enough, in every inspirational story there are many comrades behind the scenes that are indispensable.  It is important for all of us to surround ourselves with people that lift us up and encourage us to keep reaching higher.  We should also never downplay our encouraging role in the lives of those around us, but seek to build others up every chance we get.

The best news?  Your story isn’t over.  It is just beginning.  You may never be world-renowned at anything and your struggles may seem small compared to those around you.  Learn to let go of the comparison game.  It is not the size of your limitation that determines the victory nor is it the level of success once you get there; it is the size of your resolve to overcome and the positive and joyful spirit you carry along the way.  It is about the size of your trust in God’s ability to show His strength through your weakness.  Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  It is not about the obstacle that you are overcoming; it is about your daily and consistent attitude to be everything you were created to be.

I would say with 99.9% certainty that every person reading this can identify at least one area in their lives where they need to apply the “overcomer” spirit.  Each one of us has a Goliath that we are facing.  Each one of us feels inadequate at some point in our lives.  However, the Bible says that we have everything we need to live lives that glorify God.  So why are so many of us still living in defeat?  Preaching to myself here – let’s change this story!  It starts with the small decisions – like facing a fear of horses or heights – and soon moves into the bigger areas.  Who you are – your character – determines your actions.  Determine to live a life of inspiration, because you know how it goes – one flame lights another, and that flame lights another, and it continues on and on until the whole world is aglow.

It is also important to note here that this mindset isn’t anti-Christian; it is absolutely spot-on Biblically – as long as our motivation, inspiration, and goal is Christ.  Jesus died to give us victory.  When we are fully surrendered to Him, God places us strategically where we have maximum influence.  An inspirational and contagious life is a natural result of a love relationship with Christ.  A confident and overcoming attitude is not the antonym of a humble heart.  Jesus Himself told us to shine brightly.  So do it.  Send your fear right back to the devil where it came from.  Walk in the light you have received and show the world what it means to live a life without limitations.

Almighty Healer

Last night I came face to face with a trauma that I had suppressed from childhood.  In an instant, I was dealing with a level of pain, fear, and shame that I had not faced in quite some time.  It was overwhelming.

Instead of running away, I chose to face it.  I confided in a couple people that walked me through some processes and will continue to be by my side.  However, the thing that shook my world happened after that.

Emotionally, I was spent.  I went into my room and put in my headphones.  I turned on my worship music and gave my pain to God.  Almighty Healer entered my room and we journeyed through another dimension.

I want to tell you a secret.  In this moment, I can think of no greater thing to share with you.

When we go through trauma or pain, often the last thing that we humanly want to do is worship.  However, when I came to God and basked in WHO HE IS in the moment of my greatest pain, I can honestly say that I was worshiping in spirit and in truth in the most real way possible.  Peace, love, and hope washed over me.

Now I’m going to tell you a truth that I am discovering.  No amount of counseling, no matter how good it is, can cure a heart that has been broken as a result of sin…and it is true that every heart that has ever been broken has been broken because of sin.  It is our deepest problem.  Our sin is our condemnation.  It is death.  It is evil.

However, here is the GREATEST truth of all:  what we needed God provided.  What we needed Jesus died to give us:  SALVATION!  And what is salvation?  It’s not a repeat after me prayer that we pray and we are set for eternity.  Salvation is true healing of the effects of sin.  I’m going to say that again:  SALVATION IS TRUE HEALING OF THE EFFECTS OF SIN.  We can follow processes and find ways to cope and survive with the brokenness that we have experienced, but TRUE HEALING only comes in calling on the name of Jesus.  True healing is when the supernatural comes in and does what the natural could not.  True healing can only take place in worship.

It’s not to say that sometimes it doesn’t take time.  However, a life that is surrendered to the will of God does the will of God.  And what is the will of God?  That salvation would come to this world, and that begins with us!  True salvation and healing is complete.  True salvation and healing not only cures us but also sends us to be agents of that salvation and healing for others.  When we allow the Almighty Healer to come in, we are never the same.

I thank God for His indescribable gift!  I thank Him for this process that He is taking me through – the path to complete healing and salvation in Christ.  And this isn’t just because He loves me, but it is also because He loves the people that He is sending me to reach.  I am excited!  I am excited to see what God does.  I am excited for the journey.  And I am so in love…

Miracles in the Rough

Have you ever been simply exhausted?  Have you ever felt like nothing of value can come out of your ministry because you are at the point where you have nothing left to give?

Check out Mark 6:30-44 where Jesus fed the 5,000 men plus women and children.  This is easily one of Jesus’ most famous and greatest miracles recorded.  However, look at verses 31-33 leading up to the miracle:  “Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’  He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.  So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.  But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them.”

As a missionary, I read this and can literally feel inside of me the frustration that the disciples must have felt.  They had been going all day like crazy every day to the point that they didn’t even have time to eat, and Jesus had finally given them permission to rest.  Anytime a vacation or a free day is mentioned, I often feel my heart and spirit running for dear life to that place of rest.  Then…15-20,000 people show up.  And Jesus has compassion on them.

“Really, Jesus?  Have compassion on us!”  I can hear the weary disciples say.

However, there is something amazing that I saw this morning.  One of Jesus’ greatest miracles came out of a place of exhaustion.  Jesus was tired – physically, emotionally, mentally.  However, He didn’t close Himself off to the miracle.  He could have chosen to send the crowds away.  He chose, instead, to engage in the opportunity at hand.  Because of that, thousands of people were able to experience His love, truth, and provision.

What if we had the same attitude?  What if even in moments when we feel that we have nothing left to give or that we are about to give up hope, we could still expect a miracle?  The truth is, when I read in the New Testament of miracles, they nearly always come out of a time of desperation of some sort.  Someone has been in jail, and God sends an angel to rescue him.  What if he had never been in jail?  He would have never needed to be rescued by the angel.  Someone is broke, but God makes the lame man walk instead.  What if that disciple would have had money?  Would the lame man ever have walked?  Someone’s been sick for a long time, and they have an encounter that changes his or her life.  Would the miracle have meant as much if the years of suffering hadn’t taken place?

What is a miracle if it doesn’t come from a difficult time?  So often we long for the supernatural to take place, but we don’t want to go through the painful process that makes the miracle so amazing.  We don’t want to open our eyes to something or someone beyond ourselves…but could we miss the miracle if we stayed absorbed in our own little world and problems?  What if God wants to do a work in our own life but we choose to stay overwhelmed by the giant we are facing?  The truth is – our greatest pain, our deepest exhaustion, and our most dire situations could lead us to the greatest blessing we have received.  It could open the doors for miracles to happen in the lives of those around us if we are open and ready and alert.  As ministers of God’s message – as indeed we all are – we must have this Kingdom perspective.

I feel this morning that God is telling me to open my eyes – to see what He is about to do.  I hear Him telling me to be ready to be used by Him to be a blessing to others.  I also hear Him calling me to give Him anything that hinders, so that He might be free to do a mighty work inside of me.

What is God saying to you this morning?  Don’t hesitate to look for miracles in the rough times.  Be open, ready, and alert.  You never know when God might want to send the miracle.

Heart of a Champion

Yesterday I listened to a sermon by Steven Furtick about the story of David and Goliath, and I now see the story in a completely different light.  Furtick compared David’s reactions to how we should respond to our giants – the enemies that we face.

In 1 Samuel 17:28, David faces his first enemy – his own brother who accuses him of wrong motives.  In verse 30, David simply turns away and goes to someone else.  Furtick told the story of his two sons and how his older son is fantastic at arguing.  His younger son finds this so frustrating, because in the moment when he wants to share about some accomplishment that he did, his older brother will come in and try to undermine the accomplishment.  Furtick finally told his younger son that he will never be able to win an argument against his brother, but that he must get as good at ignoring his older brother as his brother is good at arguing.  Therefore, his brother will have no power over him.  Furtick used this illustration to say that we simply must “learn the turn” when our enemy comes to accuse us.

Then David faces Saul, who gives him a lot of rational and factual information about the situation:  the giant is big and David is inexperienced.  However, David stuck to his guns, recognizing where his power was coming from, and that he was called to this fight.  He was undaunted.

Finally David faces Goliath.  Furtick talked about how most of us believe that David was at a disadvantage going into the fight, but how maybe that is incorrect.  In every army there were different groups of people with different fighting strategies and different weapons.  There were some who carried swords and others who had slingshots.  Those who carried swords fought hand to hand combat at close range.  Those who had slingshots fought distance warfare.  The title of the sermon was “Keep Your Distance”.

In verse 44, Goliath says to David, “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!”  Furtick said that in that moment, Goliath was telling the truth.  If David would have obeyed and come closer, Goliath would have ripped him apart.  He used this as an illustration of how so many of us are fighting battles and losing, even though we are fighting for the right purposes:  we are fighting for God!  The reason we are losing is because we are fighting the battle on the enemy’s terms.  David didn’t listen to Goliath, however.  He stayed where he was and loaded his slingshot.  The swung the stone around and around and when he let go, it found its place in the forehead of Goliath and knocked him out.

Furtick said, “You are a slinger!  You fight with weapons from above.  Don’t listen to the enemy when he says, ‘Come closer!’”

Little did I know that God would give me the opportunity so soon to put this into practice.  All afternoon and evening yesterday I was hearing enemy voices and was responding in my usual way of falling into the trap.  I started to believe things about myself that weren’t true.  Whether I was listening to Eliab, Saul, or Goliath, I do not know.  I just know that I woke up this morning in the same state of frustration and sadness.  Then I realized what was happening.  So I stopped, stood my ground, and wrote this blog.  Stone in the sling, letting it go, and it is landing in the forehead of the enemy.  What is the stone?  The truth that God speaks over my life.  He says that I am worth it – that I am not all that I hear the enemy saying about me.  I may be an inexperienced warrior – but like Furtick said in his sermon, “The experience you don’t have is no indication of what God will do in your life.”

I see this evidenced in almost any Biblical character.  We are teaching this week in our Bible Studies about what it means to have the heart of a champion.  The main verse in the study is 1 Corinthians 1:26-29:  “Remember dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.  Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.  And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.  God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.  As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

We must recognize, like David did, that our power does not come from ourselves – from our experience or our abilities.  Our power comes from God.  He chose us specifically because we – and the rest of the world for that matter – will recognize that the victory had to come from Him.  After all, what is the purpose of our lives?  To bring God glory.  That is why Paul boasted in his weakness, because in his weakness his life’s purpose was brought to fruition.

So maybe what the enemy says is actually true sometimes.  “You are inexperienced.”  Yep.  Duly noted.  However, there is a reason why I am UNSTOPPABLE, UNBEATABLE, UNDEFEATABLE.  I am secure in the power of God.  I am covered in the blood of Christ.  I do not need to obey the voice of the enemy to come closer.  I just need to load my sling with the truth of God and fling it in the enemy’s direction, because at a distance I have the advantage.  I pray that I might remember this lesson every time I face an attack – that I do not need to fight the battle on the enemy’s terms.  I don’t need to listen.  I need to “learn the turn”.

Furtick brought up a huge truth:  God shows us our sin so that we might change.  He will never show us our shame.  That is how we can know the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s accusation.  Satan brings condemnation.  God brings truth, healing, and salvation.  So when we hear God’s voice showing us what must change in our lives, we should surrender to His will and grace.  When we hear Satan’s voice of condemnation, we cover ourselves in God’s truth and keep our distance.  We “learn the turn.”  When we must fight, we sling our stones of God’s truth at the enemy.  We fight the battle on God’s terms.

So thankful for the lesson that God taught me yesterday and this morning – what it means to have – and to own – the heart of a champion in my life.  My power comes from God alone.  I am free to only listen to His voice.  I am free in His truth.  I am protected.  I am unbeatable when I am fighting with Him.  I’m a slinger!  So are you!

Have a great day!

Attitude Is Everything

Today was yet another monumental day in the 40-day cleansing that God is doing in my life.  All day He confronted me on the subject of my attitude.  When I am faced with situations that I don’t like or when I “am required” to do things that I don’t like, I tend to get a bummed attitude.  God is showing me that this does not please Him.

In the books that I am reading, I am learning that people will follow and take up a leader’s attitude before they follow his or her actions.  It has a multiplication effect:  one leader spreads his or her attitude to all followers.  From there it grows.

The thing about attitude:  it’s not dependent on circumstances.  It is dependent on our decisions.  I can be having a horrible day – circumstances not in my favor, but my attitude does not need to reflect that.  How I treat others should not change.  The expression on my face should be one that reflects the joy of the Lord, not my bummed emotions.  A good leader (and we are all leaders, whether we know it or not) is consistent.

Thank you, Lord, for the lesson.  Transform me from the inside out.  Make me strong in Your victory and joy.  I love You.

My Beautiful Woman

I watched this video last night repeatedly and cried harder than I have cried in a while.  This is an Asian commercial, and the story is impactful because it touches on true inward beauty and the power of love and humility.  Please ignore the website name and watch this video.  It is less than 8 minutes long:

http://damn.com/p/this-video-my-beautiful-woman-will-touch-your-heart-like-never-before-must-watch/

This video made such an impact on me for a couple different reasons.  First, just like any woman, I desire to be beautiful.  Beauty is just something that we girls naturally seek.  However, this video reminded me of a truth that my heart innately already knew – that beauty comes from within.  A woman with true beauty is generous, sacrificial, and selfless.  A woman with true beauty invests herself into making the world a better place – starting with the one.

Second, it has been the truest and deepest passion of my heart since I was a teenager to rescue children.  I have dreamed countless hours of searching out and finding children who are left to die, taking them home, and raising them.  To me, it is one of the greatest atrocities of our world that there are children who grow up without knowing the love of a mom and dad.  I pray that nothing will ever stand in the way of this desire to dedicate my life to protecting our society’s most vulnerable people.  I pray that God would use me as an instrument to end the growing reality of vulnerable children in the world.  When I pray the Lord’s Prayer and say, “May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” I think about orphans and my heart breaks, longing to care for them right now.

I want to hear your take-away from this commercial.  What touched your heart and why?

An Unconventional War by TransformNations Media

3. An Unconventional War-500x500

I just finished watching one of the most powerful things I have ever seen in my life:  a documentary called An Unconventional War.  Warning:  it is incredibly graphic and intense from the beginning until the end, but tells an unforgettable message.

Did you know that 80% of Northern Uganda has been displaced?  More than 25,000 children have been captured and turned into sex slaves and soldiers that kill their own families and people.

The documentary is about the story of Joseph Kony and the war in Northern Uganda.  The film features many organizations that are at work and were born out of the struggle, personal stories of tragedy, torture, and death, fascinating and spine-tingling accounts of witchcraft and spiritual warfare, and stories of forgiveness and how the rising up of the church in prayer, intercession, and the breaking of spiritual chains is truly winning the war against the dark forces that once held the area in bondage.  This show is a national testimony of redemption.

This is a must-see.  Do not allow children to watch this documentary.  This film is very well-made, informative, and moving.  Get it!  Watch it!  It’s worth it!

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