Your heart is revealed under pressure.

I remember an Elvis Presley song and a line that sings…
“Sweetened through the ages just like wine…”
I’m pondering how going through trials and hardship makes one sweeter.
I was listening to a woman the other day share about a preacher she heard and something was missing. I asked if he was a green man? Basically, a preacher who knows only theology but has never experienced what he supposedly believes. She got it. Yes. Years of heartache and experience was missing from his teaching.
Today, I read this after listening to Murray Dueck speak on seasons in life…
Jeremiah 48:11  (ERV)
“Moab has never known trouble.
Moab is like wine left to settle.
Moab has never been poured from one jar to another.
He has not been taken into captivity.
So he tastes as he did before,
and his smell has not changed.”
One’s teaching and authority becomes sweeter when they have been sifted/ gone through trouble…
Character is who you are in the dark.
Your heart is revealed under pressure.
Gold refined in the fire – 7 x will burn out any dirt.
What kind of oppression does it take to get you depressed?
Do you believe the same thing about God when you go through trials?
The reward from a season of favour is a season of pruning to regift you, change your belief systems.
When God calls you into the dessert, He wants to spend more time with you! (I get this.)

God will ask…

Am I enough for you? If you never minister again?
Is your love for ministry greater than your love for me?
Often the very place we were wounded, is the place we are sent back to stand. But, we first must learn to rest in the Lord. He desires relationship with us and longs to teach us our value is not in doing, but in being with him.

Who is My Shepherd?

jesushugDisclaimer: my thoughts are all over the place. There are birds flying everywhere. 🙂

I’ve been processing another recent moral failure of a church pastor and watching the church fall apart. This man was a mentor to me in many ways. It was because of him and his wife, that I was encouraged to marry my husband. It was because of him that my prayer life became more important than being busy. It was because of him that my leadership became more courageous. And yet, I have noticed something… His moral failure has not rocked me to the core. I watch as his church falls apart and I’ve been wondering if the church is falling apart because they knew the voice of him as their pastor more than the voice of Jesus?

I watch how the rate of burnout, infidelity, depression, and suicide amongst pastors seems to be increasing. Is this because people are following them rather than Jesus?

Sometimes I hear people say: “We go to this church because of the pastor, or because of a certain family invited us, or because of the program for my kids…” And then, I’ve watched how the pastor leaves, or the pastor falls into moral failure, or the kids get too old for the program… and then the family leaves completely disillusioned and maybe even walks away from Jesus altogether. But, were they truly walking with him in the first place? Or just with the pastor?

Lord, are we following people, programs, or you?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:27,28

Yes, granted when one in our family falls into moral failure, the whole family suffers. Yet, I’ve also been pondering how when your whole foundation is built on Jesus, anything else that is loving is a bonus. And so when there’s moral failure in your leadership, you lean into Jesus more than ever and bounce back higher than you ever were before.

(As long as there’s repentance. And when there’s no repentance, you need to move on, or at least fire this person in leadership. No matter if you want to forgive them or not, without repentance, you cannot move forward …as is… under their leadership. Submitting to an unrepentant leader only brings curses upon yourself.)

Just some thoughts to process… as I’m going through a paradigm shift of…

“Who is called to lead the church?”

Some people say: Men only.

(…But, then we read the Gospels, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles and see women leading everywhere in the church…empowered by Jesus and by Paul.)

But, I’ve been wondering if we have focused too much on people period, regardless of gender, and not enough on Jesus?

Thanks to Constantine who sadly institutionalized Christianity using the book of Leviticus rather than the book of Acts model, and plus my own pastoral training, my mind still forgets that we are called to be the priesthood of believers!

No professional pastors required.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

(And He later told His disciples to wait until Holy Spirit came!

…Yet, we still seem to insist on relying only on our Theology. By the way, there’s a book called ‘Systematic Theology’, but why isn’t there a book called: “Systematic Marriage”? …I’m being sarcastic. We can’t put God in a box, like we can’t put our spouse in a box.)

I love when the professional religious leaders of the day took note because, “These unschooled, ordinary men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4)

There it is again. Relationship with Jesus.

Here’s another quote I heard back in 2014 which keeps coming to mind too lately…

“One day all the mega churches will fall apart, and we’ll look back and wonder what was going on in churches in North America.” – Dallas Willard

(Please note: Don’t think I’m entirely anti mega-church. In fact, this year I made a journey to attend a mega church to discover for myself if it was legitimately led by Jesus or not…and I was actually blown away by this church culture of honour. The Lead pastor continually honoured and empowered other leaders, male or female, and was quick to share the pulpit. He knew the love and goodness of God that He didn’t feel threatened by others. Rather, he cheered them on. In fact, it’s been through this mega-church pastor that I had been reminded that when leaders don’t think there’s enough of God’s love to go around, that’s when they walk in fear, jealousy, control and manipulation… But, when leaders know God’s love, they celebrate other people’s wins!  …But, here’s a thought… If this Lead Pastor were ever to fall into moral failure, would this mega-church fall apart?? Hmmm, that is the question…)

Anyway…

What are your thoughts on who should Shepherd the Church? Are we still relying too much on people and not enough on Jesus and Holy Spirit in North America?

Thoughts? 🙂 Share below…

How to Walk in Freedom!

Last night, I had the honour of leading someone to freedom from addiction and depression. (I am a Life Coach and Spiritual Director which often entails an inner healing session.) Then, we talked about what abundant life really is. (It doesn’t start when you die and go to heaven. It starts now when you die to self, and live in Christ.) This video from Graham Cooke below is TOTALLY what we discussed. My client will be doing this exercise which he describes in the video….!!

(There are 2 battles. One to get free. One to stay free!)

What Changed for Me? (Ashes to Beauty)

images-2Friends recently asked me what changed in my life this past year that brought on so much blessing, healing, and crazy adventures of delight and joy in Jesus.

I’ve been pondering this…

“God, why have you shown such grace and mercy?”

I have seen God do some INCREDIBLE things.

(This summer, I watched God bring on 70 physical healings (from torn ligaments, clenched jaws, scoliosis, injured necks, sprained ankles…) in teenagers I was sent to lead, along with hearts surrendered to a new full life in Jesus!)

…On top of this, I have the joy of leading people through inner healing sessions with Jesus and getting a front row seat to Him doing mighty things! Adults and teens in depression, anxiety, and addiction are experiencing deep healing by hearing God’s voice.

Every day I come home from work, I feel like I just saw Jesus perform another miracle.

How did this all begin to happen?

I look back…

Less than a year ago, I had the unfortunate job of confronting a man who’s behaviours negatively impacted multiple families including his own. Jesus helped me realize that his patterns of behaviour towards me and others were out of fear (which leads to manipulation and control, and in this case emotional and spiritual abuse). Yet, in order to break this cycle of fear, I chose to confront him in love.  Jesus strongly put it on my heart that I was to pray over the man for him to know that God’s love is greater than our fear. (Yes, this sounds humanly impossible to pray over a such a person. Only by the power of God can you do such a thing for someone who hurt others. I take no credit.)

The man wept, but only in sorrow. (Read: “5 Languages of Apology” by Dr Chapman to learn the difference between sorrow and repentance) I left in peace with a strong boundary, and I moved on… ‘dusting off my feet’.

I had no idea what would come next…

God is SO good.

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit gives you mighty power, love, and sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7  

There are basically 2 motives in our lives for why we do what we do…

Fear.

Or love.

Since that day, my health (in all aspects) improved like crazy. LIKE CRAZY. Could it be that walking in boldness brought on more of God’s power? …and more of His love and sound mind (and authority).

It appears the act of confronting someone in love and peace, seemed to immediately cut off the word curses once spoken over me and released healing and power flowing out to others like a bottle uncorked. (Confronting an abuser took lots of guided help. Do not try this on your own.)

Would you like God’s power, love and self-control to become ‘uncorked’?

Questions for you:

Is there someone in your life who has hurt you?

Invite Holy Spirit to come… and then…

Ask Jesus: “How do you see this person? How do you feel about this person?”

What He will show you will blow your mind! God wants to loan us His perspective on people and situations in our lives.

Ask Jesus: “What are you calling me to do, if anything for this situation/person?”

What Jesus shows you can transform the place you are in.

Share it with trusted advisors to pray with you.

Whether you are called to confront someone, or simply pray a release over them…,

Jesus waits for us to be ready to step into His resting place in order to blow us away with what He wants to do next…

Like I said to the teens I was ministering to this summer… “Are you ready to get wrecked by God’s mind blowing love?!” 😀

Check this out…

Paul Prays for Love to Overflow

14 …I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, 15 the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth. 16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.

17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.

18–19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.

Ephesians 3:14-20  (TPT)

Jesus invites you to lay down your burdens at Jesus’ feet for Him to handle.

Then, walk forward in freedom and get ready to watch God do some mighty things!

(And if you have burdens that won’t go… and you need a life coach/spiritual director, and you know how to contact me, feel free to contact me directly. I would delight in walking with you to Jesus’ freedom gift for you too.)

Blessings! 🙂

Recommended Reading: 
“5 Languages of Apology” by Dr Chapman

What Makes a Healthy Church?

This was good… back to basics… (Go small to go big.)
What makes a healthy church fellowship of disciples? Below are the slides and videos…
Healthy Fellowships Video 1:
Practical – How to – Video 2:

How do you enter God’s presence?

jesushug.png

This question… “How do you enter God’s presence?”,  is so beautiful and has been asked of me many times lately. The answer from God’s Word is so refreshing…

1. Be still. Get quiet to allow Him to lead you.

Ps 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Ps 23
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
and you refresh my life…
You are with me…
Your kindness and love
will always be with me
each day of my life,
and I will live forever
in your house, Lord.

2. Enter His gates by giving thanks, giving praise to Him, singing for joy!

Psalm 100:1,2,4

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs…
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

(Helpful hint: Try this… Get alone somewhere quiet. Start by listing 3 things you are thankful for. Say ‘thank you’ to God. “Thank you God for…”)

When They Don’t Change?

What do you do when a person in your life doesn’t change…? What if it’s your leadership, your employee, a friend, a client, a date, etc…?

Here’s a great refresh from a message I heard long ago and again from a book I read a year ago. Thankfully, there are things you can do before it comes down to walking away or swimming away from a sinking ship. Some boats are repairable still longing for the wind to fill their sails.

Brief overview with video link below…

3 Types of People (Dr Henry Cloud):

There are three types of people you encounter in your life, and when you deal with them, you can’t always take the same approach. Research reveals 3 basic categories and we all can behave in these at times in our growth. They are wise, foolish and evil.

Here they are:

  1. Wise people: Resource them. Give them more input, knowledge, training, teaching, and whatever you have, because they tend to use it. They’re good people to invest in. You don’t have to do much with these folks except have a good tone, be specific and listen well, and you’ll get great results. They are people of good character. 
  1. Foolish (defensive) people: Remember, more feedback usually does not help. So, why continue to do what doesn’t help? You’re wasting your breath trying to continually talk about a problem that the person is not owning. This is when you have to focus on consequences. If they do A, then it will result in B happening. Sometimes using consequences will get a turnaround, and other times they will go away, as they do not like to be held accountable. 
  1. Evil (destructive) people: With them, not only is there no talking, there is also usually no hope. Get serious about protecting yourself and others from their agenda, and take appropriate action. While group #1 needs input, and group #2 needs consequences, with the third group, you have to go into protective mode. They are out to harm, so make sure your strongest boundaries are intact. 

To learn more tools, I urge you to read Henry’s book, Necessary Endings

Enjoy this clip too!

Life After ‘Church’?

Since stepping away from traditional church and pastoral ministry, my journey has taken me on a sweet adventure. God has led my family away, not to find membership at another institutional church, though we had visited many and were warmly invited by many, but rather to take note of what God is up to… outside of the box.

He is doing a new thing…!

(Resource below…)

God is amazing.

We are enjoying a rich time. My family and I are involved in a growing disciple-making movement it appears. I’ve got 4 discipleship groups right now I’m leading or co-leading. We are also enjoying street ministry (simply offering to pray for people) and feeding the homeless. We have seen people come to Christ and getting physically healed of various illnesses. My favourite was an older man healed of serious back pain in Jesus’ name. The look on his face! Or the conversation I had about Jesus’ view of women (using the story of the Samaritan woman at the well) after I was asked about being a female pastor. 😀

(Just had a thought… Being a woman sharing hope on the street is somehow a more acceptable thing in some circles than being a woman sharing hope on a stage behind a pulpit. Strange…? Yet, I’m having more fun on the street these days!)

For us, it has been life on life led by Holy Spirit. No pressure, no rush… I just wake up in the morning, ask God what He has planned, linger with Him in the Word and in prayer, and then go. (I work on the side as a Life Coach and Spiritual Director and have recently been invited to partner with another ministry.)

There are eleven people I only met this year just walking my dog, or going to a coffee shop, or brought to meet me with a friend. God is on the move, on the street, and in our homes. The running joke at home is that I take forever to get a few groceries. I keep having some incredible conversations with people. 😀

Below is another resource that helped me digest, reflect, and embrace this new chapter for ourselves of intentionally being the living church (which takes less energy then we were used to in the past. Although, when I look at the list above of what we are doing, it’s much bigger somehow! That’s totally God. Not us!)

We love the Church! And God uses institutional churches. But, if you’re struggling with confusion within an institutional church, church politics, meetings and meetings and a lack of fruit, and you’ve wandered from institutional church to institutional church, but you love Jesus perhaps more than ever, this help may be like a breath of fresh air…!

LAC-ads

Life After Church (Audio Download)
We are in one of the most dramatic reorganizations of the structure of THE Church ever in human history. That is because the King is on the move and there is a dramatic next chapter coming. This album is one perspective from researcher Arthur Burk on where the King is going and how we can live this transition season for fullest effect. You ARE in a transition. The question is whether you will transition well and be part of the new move of God, or will be caught short…?  ***Sneak peek:

5 basic reasons people leave the church:

  1. Abusive authority.
  2. Community is found outside church. Church then became just a ritual.
  3. Leadership was hired on credentials rather than anointing and gifting.
  4. Money going to consumer comforts and an old building rather than outreach. 
  5. No clue why you left?? You just did and don’t know why.

God is raising up a new army. We are seeing the merging of the Fathering Movement and Church in the Marketplace coming together, merging into one stream. As we head into multiple ticking time bombs, God is getting ready for it.

In the light of church history, we are getting ready for something really big.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MOBILIZATION OF THIS MAGNITUDE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST EVER IN CHURCH HISTORY.

The Life ‘After Church’ signs are:

·         Decentralization- there is no human leader.

·         Design based, as each one of us dominates a small niche in our area of expertise.

·         People have learned to hear God directly for themselves (not relying on a pastor).

·         You don’t need structures, you can move NIMBLY, as Holy Spirit leads.

We are privileged to be in this season, to be a part of something so big it will rewrite human and church history. Each of us have been designed for this season, for such a time as this…  Learn more…

Unlearn in Order to Learn how to Disciple?

13 million people in 12 years through a disciple making movement?!!! (A few people in the Word started it all.)

This morning, I got to group Skype with a missionary on the other side of the world and hear how fast the Gospel is spreading. He had to unlearn things in order to learn how to truly make disciples.

I loved that he said some of his best leaders are women! 😀

What is a disciple making movement? Here’s one way to explain… 🙂 

Supernatural Mothers

Godnurtures
God nurtures us. Image source: Today’s Christian woman

Oh, this weekend of Mother’s Day… I have always noticed that this day and Father’s Day carries with it special supernatural meaning because we are called to be family (and when that doesn’t happen, there’s deep pain.)

I pray more folks are adopted into loving community this weekend because they experience El Shaddai (“well breasted one”) because God nurtures us. I believe motherhood is a gift – whether you are a biological mom, or adopted mom, or a spiritual mom. Every woman has the potential to be like a healthy mother to others. I believe moms are created in God’s image. So, when you are rejected, unloved, that is not from God. I pray instead for healing and hope if this feels like you.

You are loved.
Love your people,
whether they are blood line or not.

Questions:

  1. What women in your life have been the hands and feet of God in His love and compassion? Take time to honour them, thank them, pray for them, remember them…
  2. What woman (or man) in your life, is God calling you to ‘mother’ (or ‘father’) on His behalf? Take time to ask Him who and what that should look like…
  3. Take the time this week to do that. Carry on the journey of Titus 2 intentional mentoring.