Intentional Meals Together?

“Cook at home and enjoy family meals.”
I read these words recently in the newly updated food guide…

feast.togetherThanks to a young friend recently visiting from Germany, who inspired us, I have been encouraged to ALSO include EVERY family member in the making of suppers, no matter the initial headaches, and turn them into a s..l..o..w.. going culinary social event from start to finish.

Food prep, feast, clean up…

I realize that though our Canadian family is one of the few (it seems) who aren’t running off to a million events after downing a quick fast food supper meal, I realized we still were not eating slow enough… like Europeans seem to do…

feasttogether

These folks across the ocean seemingly take 2-3 ours of everything together – food prep together, eat together, drink together, visit together… and often then games together.

I like this.
Intentional togetherness feasting.

I’m thinking too of the early house churches where the communion dinner was a full intimate meal and not like now in many places with little cups and little wafers done assembly line like and quickly with no interaction with others.

So, I’ve been re-inspired to swim upstream in my culture…

Make meals together.
Eat together.
Linger together.
Celebrate together.
Play together.
Bonus delight: invite a friend or two, or a family or two on the whole process! Adopt others into your family for dinner.

Forget the too many cooks in the kitchen theory.
(Yikes, did I just say that?)
Let’s make it work.

I wonder too…
Could we have less anxiety and depression in our country if we did this more…?
Less isolation…?

(Wow, all that prompted from the newly updated food guide…)

 

Inspired by:
8 ways Canada’s new food guide will change how you feed your kids…
https://www.todaysparent.com/family/family-health/new-canadas-food-guide-is-awesome/

My Process of Healing

victory

“Watching is a vital part of praying. God wants us to seek out the holes in the walls of nations, churches, and individual lives. Just as David and Joshua found out why God’s blessing had dried up, it is our job as prophetic intercessors today to find these gaps and fill them with prayer.” – Murray Dueck

I was standing in the gap…
with the gap becoming wider and wider …
and watching some who once prayed with me, lose their way…

“…Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win.” – Exodus 17:10b-11

…and, eventually my body said, ‘enough is enough’ and crashed…

BUT…

The process of healing and renewing my strength…

…(with bits of my story) has been the following so far… 🙂

1. Blessing Prayers and Breaking Curses

2. Heart Wound Healing Prayers

3. Inner Healing Prayers 

4. Bonus: Something I’ve learned about my gifting while resting…My Spiritual Sensitivity and Burden Bearing

Thought: One advantage of chronic fatigue and chronic pain in recovery from ministry fatigue? I feel the Lord’s presence more strongly. I can tell when the Holy Spirit has given me more of His strength. Because I’ve got nothing. It’s like a jet propulsion or something.

Less of me, more of him! 🙂 Sweet Jesus, thank you!

Are We Seeking God’s Kingdom?

Graham Cooke speaking to men… about building the church and seeking God’s kingdom …Powerful.

Watch short clip below…

 

If you’d like to watch the full video…

(skip through announcements to about 6:42 or even 9:40…)

Read the book: Permission Granted to Do Church Differently in the 21st Century

Easter Song: Holy (Wedding Day)

“Holy (Wedding Day)”
The City Harmonic 

This is the story of the Son of God
Hanging on the cross for me
But it ends with a bride and groom
And a wedding by a glassy sea
O death where is your sting
Cause I’ll be there singing
Holy Holy Holy
Is the Lord

This is the story of a bride in white
Waiting on her wedding day
Anticipation welling up inside
While the groom is crowned as king
O death where is your sting
Cause we’ll be there singing
Holy Holy Holy is the Lord

Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy
Is the Lord Almighty
Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy
Is the Lord Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
Who was and is and is to come

This is the story of the Son of God
Hanging on the cross for me
And it ends with a bride and groom
And a wedding by a glassy sea

This is the story of the a bride in white
Singing on her wedding day
Of the God who was and is to stand before a bride who sings
Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty

 

Women Divided

How beautiful it is when women do life/walk/pray/disciple together in community. It is no wonder…the enemy is threatened by the power of women in unity. It is no wonder that one of his strategies is to divide women. (Not just men against women and vice versa.)

Yes, the enemy hates women in unity, discipling others together.

In the last days, the Bible warns us about division…

Matthew 24…

10 At that time, many will turn away from their faith. They will hate each other. They will hand each other over to their enemies. 11 Many false prophets will appear. They will fool many people. 12 Because evil will grow, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who remains strong in the faith will be saved. 14 This good news of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world. It will be a witness to all nations. Then the end will come.

The battle rages on… flesh vs spirit…

Galatians 5…

19 The result of sin’s control in our lives is clear. It includes sexual sins, impure acts and wild living. 20 It includes worshiping statues of gods and worshiping evil powers. It also includes hatred and fighting, jealousy and fits of anger. Sinful desire is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. 21 It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like this will not receive God’s kingdom.

22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to his cross. They don’t want these things anymore. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others.

“Lord, have mercy and come quickly…”

In the meantime…

1 Peter 5:8 

Be watchful and control yourselves. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to swallow up. 

Put on God’s Armour…

Ephesians 6:

10 Finally, let the Lord make you strong. Depend on his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor. Then you can remain strong against the devil’s evil plans. 12 Our fight is not against human beings. It is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world. 13 So put on all of God’s armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing. 14 So remain strong in the faith. Put the belt of truth around your waist. Put the armor of godliness on your chest. 15 Wear on your feet what will prepare you to tell the good news of peace. 16 Also, pick up the shield of faith. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Put on the helmet of salvation. And take the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword is God’s word.

18 At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

If you are a Christian woman betrayed by other women,

…you are not alone… 

1 Peter 5:9 
 Stand up to the evil one. Remain strong in what you believe. You know that you are not alone in your suffering. The family of believers throughout the world is going through the same thing.

You are also in good company with Jesus…

Luke 22

Then Satan entered Judas, who was called Iscariot. Judas was one of the 12 disciples. He went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard. He talked with them about how he could hand Jesus over to them…

20 In the same way, after the supper Jesus took the cup. He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. It is poured out for you. 21 But someone here is going to hand me over to my enemies. His hand is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go to his death, just as God has already decided. But how terrible it will be for the one who hands him over!”

When We Silence Women

silence-001
Image source: Globe and Mail

What happens when we silence women, “on behalf of God”…?

“What we lose by excluding the distinctively feminine from ‘official’ ministries of teaching and preaching is of incalculable value. That loss is one of a few fundamental factors which account for the astonishing weakness of ‘the Church’ in the contemporary context.” (Dallas Willard)

What women bring to God’s kingdom building…

Many women in my circles are naturals at intentional relationship disciple-making. And if we do use programs, …in our current culture that loves the latest study, …we women are often found intentionally building relationships within those programs. Relationships that are intentionally built, continue long after the programs. Programs are only launch pads for disciple making. The most powerful disciple making happens organically.

But, we women are not perfect at this and it does not originate with us…

We see this example set by Christ Himself personally investing in 12 men and several women (Luke 8:1-3). These people did life together outside any classroom. Jesus didn’t invite spectators and note takers, he invited people to become disciple-makers. Men, can teach us women (and always have) but we women would love for men to be willing to learn from us as well.

If men didn’t listen to women, they may still think Jesus was in the grave. Go back to the Easter story and see who first believed and who first shared the Good News message. 

“All of Easter hangs on the testimony of women.” – Ravi Zacharias

We are called to build the kingdom together.

Together is better.

Because of Jesus, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’…

“There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:20

Men… Brothers… We are not here to outdo each other. We are here to serve together to share the Gospel with a dying world. The world needs Jesus who defeated sin and death, and they won’t see Jesus in us when we fight with envy and fear. We need to choose to empower each other all the while being led by the Spirit. Truly godly women don’t want to take over, we want to be faithfully using our gifts for His kingdom!

People will only see Jesus in a family where men and women honour each other because they love Jesus more than anything. (John 17)

Let us not tarnish our testimony and halt sharing the Gospel because of our mistreatment of each other. The enemy laughs when this happens.

Let us not quench the Holy Spirit through the silencing of women who have been called to teach and prophesy…

“ ‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Holy Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young men will see visions.
    Your old men will have dreams.
In those days, I will pour out my Spirit on my servants.
    I will pour out my Spirit on both men and women.
    When I do, they will prophesy. (Joel 2 & Acts 2)

The world needs Jesus, the God who broke cultural barriers, gender barriers… and cosmic barriers – the barrier between God and man.

At what cost will you quench the Spirit? Or will you rather let Him lead through others you may not expect?

Read Acts 10 &11 to see the paradigm shift Peter had to go through regarding Gentiles! What paradigm shift will God need to take you through regarding genders, races, etc to show you that His Holy Spirit is available to all who believe in Jesus?

“What we lose by excluding the distinctively feminine from ‘official’ ministries of teaching and preaching is of incalculable value. That loss is one of a few fundamental factors which account for the astonishing weakness of ‘the Church’ in the contemporary context.” (Dallas Willard)

*Silencing women or any other group from sharing the Gospel and making disciples is spiritual attack.

The enemy hates women and men working together because that was Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21… to be one with God and one with each other… so that people will come to Jesus…

“I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.”

Read my own story of the enemy’s attack: From Curses to Blessing


More info:

Be Still :)

A video invitation from one of my online mentors.
Come away from rush and hurry…
You and I are invited to do life not out of an anxious to-do list,
but out of a place of rest and peace…
Find a quiet place,
enjoy the peaceful music,
the words and questions to stir your heart and mind…

Rest Deeper. Live Fuller. Lead Better.

http://www.unhurriedliving.com

I first ‘met’ Alan Fadling online through Sabbatical topics and have chatted with him via Twitter. I very much enjoyed his book:
An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest

Intentional Friendships

Friendship-Quotes-4
http://www.prettydesigns.com

I am ALIVE and investing in other people, because of people who invested in me. My parents were intentional in recruiting others to invest in me in partnership with them. Friends and mentors obediently stepped up at crucial times of brokenness in my life. They saw something in me, prayed for me, battled for me, and have celebrated with me. They were the hands and feet of Jesus to me.

 

Last weekend I gave a workshop on Titus 2 and I continue to ponder the truths…

We are all impacting others whether we know it or not. Let us choose to be in ‘intentional friendships’. It’s exciting to be intentional. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by it.

‘Mentoring’, as some may call it, isn’t about knowing all the answers. It’s less about telling someone what to do and more about listening and knowing the right questions to ask. The Holy Spirit already wants to speak to each person. Often all you need to do is ask open ended questions for the person to hear what the Holy Spirit has been already trying to reveal. And if you don’t know the answer to their questions, pray together, and refer them to someone else who knows that topic better than you. Invite others to be apart of the journey!

You don’t need to be perfect. No one is.

God uses our mistakes, our victories, our ordinary moments to fulfill a greater purpose. We leave fingerprints on the lives of people every day. May they be God’s fingerprints and less of our own.

Pray: “Less of me, more of you Holy Spirit!”

We each long for someone to come alongside us, walk with us, teach us, challenge us, encourage us, and believe in us.

We can ‘mentor’ our friends the same age as us and they can ‘mentor’ us. (Peer mentoring.)

We desire friends we can trust, a relationship we can depend on, a mentor to guide us, someone to love us for who we are.

Problem is, we live lives too busy for the intimate relationships we desire. Our lives are so fragmented.

‘Intentional friendship’ as a lifestyle means that we live our lives as if they matter, because they do!

What difference are you making in the people around you?

What mark are you leaving in the lives of your family, your friends, your co-workers? Do you hope others will duplicate what they see in you?

Think of the impact when we choose to be intentional about the time we spend with others. Families, neighbourhoods, churches, cities, an entire country, and even world can be transformed.

Let’s Be Intentional Together While We Wait for Christ’s Return

(Read Titus 2.)

  1. Spend some time thinking of 1 or 2 older people in your life who has played a key role in investing in you.
  • What was/is it that has impacted you?
  1. Spend some time thinking about 1 or 2 young people you know in your life whom you have been blessed by, someone you wish your kids would become like, or someone you are proud of.
  • What was/is it that has impacted/impressed you?
  1. Spend some time thinking about an employer you have had or a leader of some kind who has believed in you, encouraged you, and cheered you on, or taught you a valuable lesson.
  • What was/is it that has impacted you?

Consider sharing with a friend your reflections. Ask them the questions above to learn from them.

Activity:

  1. Write a thank you note to a person/mentor/life coach thanking them for the investment they’ve made in your life.
  2. Write a note of thanks or encouragement to your employer.
  3. Write a note of encouragement to a young person in your life. Give them a verse of Scripture to bless them with.
  4. Google sample prayers for the next generation, for parents, for employers, etc. Find specific Scriptures to pray over them.

Quiet Personal Prayer Time:

Plan for an hour to focus on this…

1. Do you have someone intentionally investing in you yet? If not, ask God for a name of someone who should be invited to invest in you. This may require prayer and fasting. Don’t let it fall by the wayside. If God gives you a name, don’t outright ask them if they’d coach/disciple you. That will scare them. Invite them for lunch or tea and tell them you have 3 life questions to ask them. Give them the questions ahead of time. If the time together is a hit, thank them deeply for their wisdom and ask if they’d be interested to reconnect in 2 weeks or a month or so. If there was no chemistry, simply thank them. Pray over the outcome either way. Don’t give up.

2. Ask God for a name of someone who is younger in your life that He’d like you to further invest in. They may be one of the younger ones you’ve already thought of above. Then ask God how/what that could look like. Ask Him for His plan of mentoring and discipleship. This too may require prayer and fasting. Don’t let it fall by the wayside and then you miss out on making a difference in someone’s life and you growing in the journey with them. Before you invest in someone, know your limits, theirs and your expectations etc. Not everyone is teachable, and not everyone is a good fit. See resources listed below for a plan for mentoring and discipleship.

3. Have you freely accepted God’s grace in your own life? Do you truly know that God loves you no matter what? If not, what is it that could be holding you back? Were you misled to believe that you have to do good things in order for God to love you? Ask God what it is that you’re clinging to that is keeping you from accepting His grace, and give that over to Him. Make room for God’s best for you!

4. What do you live for? What is constantly on your mind? What are you most passionate about? What is your goal in life? Does it have anything to do with building God’s kingdom? If not, release it. It won’t last forever and will only bring heartache later down the road.

Give God your selfish ambitions, your worries, your fears, your disappointments, your un-confessed sin of self-pity, selfishness, constant complaining, criticizing others, eating too much, not taking care of your body, filling your mind with junk tv shows and movies that paint sin as fun, gossip, lying, neglecting time to worship and pray regularly…

Give it all over to God. He has bigger plans for you!

Prayer of Release:

“Dear Jesus… I release to you… and in it’s place I receive your grace! Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Lord, I receive Your Holy Spirit into my life. Fill me with Your presence, and teach me to clearly hear Your voice so that I may follow You all the days of my life.

Lord, give me the confidence to share your grace with others. Help me to care more about what you think of me, than what others think. Give me the boldness to share your grace with others. I want to be a life changer because of your love through me. I want to build your kingdom and not my own! In your Name Jesus, Amen.”

 

Resources I Highly Recommend:

Book: A Mentor’s Fingerprint. – Ann Griffiths & Donna Inglis
www.fingerprintministries.com
This book will awaken the realization that we all impact and influence others. It will inspire, empower, and equip you to be even more effective in how you invest in others. Provides practical guidelines on how long you mentor someone and how to evaluate along the way.

Book: The Invested Life – Rosenberg & Koshy
The Invested Life: Making Disciples of All Nations One Person at a Time
Key questions: Who is investing in you? And in whom are you investing?
The goal is to make disciples of all nations for Jesus Christ one person at a time fully relying on God. The book challenges Christ followers to have a big biblical vision and lay out the first baby steps to start. The Invested Life lays out a process to not only answer those 2 simple questions, but to live out that answer in a transformational way completely in prayer. “We don’t choose whom to disciple. God chooses for us.”

Article: Why Being A Mentor Isn’t As Scary As You Think by Randy Wollf

http://www.ministrylift.ca/why_being_a_mentor_isnt_as_scary_as_you_think

Article: How Christian Women Can Mentor and Be Mentored by Kelley Mathews

http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/how-christian-women-can-mentor-and-be-mentored-1409871.html

Article: Titus 2 Prayers by Dawn Wilson

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/titus-2-prayers/

Article: Woman to Woman: Answering the Call of Titus 2 by Jean Williams
http://matthiasmedia.com/briefing/2010/03/woman-to-woman-answering-the-call-of-titus-2/

Article: Creating Circles of Friendship by Tammy Strait
http://www.tammystrait.com/circles-friendship/

What is Lent? (Journey to the Cross)

How will you journey this Lenten season?

First the background…

The 6 weeks before Easter is called the “Lenten Season”. It’s a time to focus on Christ’s sacrifice of death for our life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we too can rise and enjoy heaven forever when we put our trust in Him.

LENT is a process of prayer and spiritual renewal. The Lenten season focuses on dying to our self and living for Him. Often Christians will fast from something in order to rely less on other things and rely more on Him.

The word ‘lent’ means ‘lengthen’ and stands for the time in Spring when the days grow longer. The original period of Lent was 40 hours, and was spent fasting to remember the suffering of Christ and the 40 hours He spent in the tomb. In the early 3rd century, it was lengthened to 6 days and then 36 days (36 being the tithe or tenth of the 365 days of the year). About 800 AD it changed to 40 days (or 46 if you include all the Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday).

In many traditions, Lent is a time for cleaning, in preparation for Easter and Spring. First your soul, then your kitchen, then the rest of the house was cleansed and purified of the past year’s accumulations. Old clothes are mended, or given away, new clothes are purchased. In the Ukraine, houses were whitewashed inside and out during Lent. In this way, everything was made ready to face the season of Salvation and Rebirth. Traditions of ‘spring cleaning’ stem from this.

I’ve been prompted to choose the following Lenten Focus:

Read Matthew 5 daily for every 40 days (Reflective reading)

Make a Gratitude list – daily

Pray for others I see as I walk

Choose forgiveness daily

I will also be taking my family through reflections on Jesus’ journey to the cross.

What will you set aside, get rid of and focus on in order to set your eyes on Jesus, His love and sacrifice for you?