How I believe…

Statement of Faith

We Believe
• God is the ultimate creator and sustainer of all things in heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

• The Holy Bible is God’s inspired word and the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:105)

• The one true God is a Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (I John 5:7-8) (2 Corinthians 14:16-17)

• In the virgin birth, (Luke 1:26-38) Christ’s death on the cross, (Luke 23:26-29) his bodily resurrection, (Luke 24:50-53) the ascension. (Luke 24:50-53)

• In the return of Christ for his church. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

• The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for today. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; I Corinthians 12:1-31)

• The Church is the body of Christ on earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit and is called to live in unity. (Ephesians 4:1-16)

• As Christians we are individually responsible to carry out the great commission. (Matthew 28:18-20) (Luke 24:36-49)

Christian Leaders and Public Scandals

In the last few years because of the public scandals in the christian community life gets pretty rocky for those of us who are trying our best to lead with integrity. The social networks hit the share buttons, the tweet flies by our eyes, the dialogue continues. Behind the scenes churches come up with new ways of accountability for leaders, and tighten down the hatches.

I don’t believe more accountability and more structure is the answer. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying as leaders we are not to be accountable to others. Down through the ages, including in the bible, sin rears its ugly head in the life of leaders and the church and accountability is necessary.  Yet lets not batten down the hatches on all believers and christian leaders, because of those who messed up big time and are all over the news. Opinions flow freely on the social networks from those who are Christ followers and those who are not. Church boards across the nation begin to restructure, because they are saying we will not allow this to happen to us!

Lets get real here, without making excuses! Sin began in the garden of Eden, it continued on during the time of the Old Testament and the New Testament! It is not going away just because we place tighter and tighter controls on our Christian leaders and the body of Christ. Man made rules will never work. All they will do is place a leader in a position of leading from fear, instead of a love that flows from Jesus Christ.

When The Answer Hides In A Plastic Container

 

 

 

Have you ever had a time in your life when you gave up searching for the answer because you felt stuck in a circumstance? Then once you gave up searching the answer arrives and poof, you wish you did not have the answer! Tonight was one of those nights for me.

There was a time that I knew the direction I was to take in a specific area of my life. Yet, somehow I lost 2 of my goals in the shuffle of my everyday life! Tonight I found the two lost goals in the middle of my anger. I was preparing to print a copy of a letter to be mailed tomorrow. It is late and what happens? I cannot find one single piece of printer paper! The industrious person that I am, begins to look through my stacks of writing projects. They are packed away in plastic containers waiting for the move. They are neatly held together with binder clips. I am going through each one hoping to find one piece of  blank white paper!

I finally stop looking, realizing that I have everything well-organized and in order. I know myself well enough to realize that there will be no blank sheet of paper in the piles. I begin to place my stack of writing back in the plastic container and I am angry. I am angry at myself, because the answer I was searching for sat a few feet away from me for months. Tonight I realize I spent so much time assisting others to launch their projects, that mine are sitting in containers waiting for me to take them out, and publish them publicly in courses and books.

Yes, I am in a new season and I am launching an online course soon! As this launches I will pull out one stack of writing at a time and begin typing and work on rough drafts one at a time. Then before long the e-book will be available and all nine online courses. Who would have guessed that God would show me the answer, as I searched for one piece of blank white paper?

The Backyard Chat, Loved One’s, Friends, and Grief

Today I recorded a video on my phone (the video is above) of a few thoughts that flowed through my mind last night. I was moving a few things around in my office and stumbled across my Day Timer. It had a little dust on it, because almost everything I do now is online or saved on some technology device. As I turned to the back of my DayTimer I came across a sheet protector, that was filled with precious notes and photos that I received from dear friends and loved ones. What I did not plan on doing was coming across cards and notes from friends who are now with Jesus. My feelings were mixed as I picked them up and set them in a pile on my desk.

I sat in my chair and began to read and within a few minutes I began to cry. I read words from my friend Nancy. A few excerpts from her many words in little cards I share here. > Nancy, Yes, I am still alive and well!! God blesses me and keeps me in His tender care! She shared a story with me and ended it with these words, “God doesn’t make mistakes so there is a purpose in all this I know!” Last night as I read her words I was thinking how tired I am was, and how quitting what I was working on sounded so good at the moment!  Nancy’s words to me, “I continue to pray for your mission! “Keep the faith, walk and talk the talk, you will get there !!! Love you, Nan. Once again, although Nancy is with Jesus, her words speak to me! I realized as I set down the card and picked up another, that no matter what my thoughts were at this very moment I must continue on.

Next I picked up a photo of my sweet little nephew who went home to be with Jesus. I recalled how many years ago Christopher left us, and realized my tears were tiny a they slid down my cheeks. I still miss him, but the pain is not as deep as in the past. I picked up a photo of a leader in our city who spoke words to me a few years ago at the time when I hit the wall and lost everything of material value on my life. As others spoke words to me that were more painful that healing or encouraging, this man spoke these words after he prayed for me. Remember even though you are going through this in your life, pour out to others and God will continue to pour rivers of living water into your heart and life.

The final envelope I picked up was from a leader on the West Coast. He was someone who God placed on my heart to pray for off and on for a few years. This envelope unexpectedly arrived with words of encouragement written inside.

People would be surprised if I shared the many names who connected with me through the years. In fact many in the Christian community would recognize their names. Yet, I do not share the names anywhere, because my life is not about sharing names to say, “Look at me! Look who talks to me!” No, this was about a woman who prays, who cries and loves those who sent the many cards, and a woman who is thankful for those who loved me and gave me words that continue to be precious to me. My precious ones are no longer with me, yet I continue to cherish their words.

As for the prophecy that I mention in the video above, it is not time for me to release the words that were given to me. The time will come and I will share these special words too!

Praying for all who listen to this video and read this post.  ~Nancy J.~

 

 

 

 

Shake Off Shame and Embarrassment

1237362_10151866246408556_648465001_o   I am reorganizing my book today. Bringing the middle to the beginning. I am starting with what it is like to live on the edge of homelessness. Beginning with my company closing, moving numerous times, experiencing “the system,” losing everything including my car, walking in the snow and learning to shake off the shame and embarrassment.

I am writing with honesty about learning to stand on the outside looking in at the corporate and ministry leadership world, that was once a part of my life. I write about learning in the middle of this situation who I am in Jesus Christ. Through the years I was a voice for those who had no one to speak for them. Now I use my voice as I move forward, speaking, teaching and writing. I continue to be the voice for those who have no voice, by sharing my life and my stories.

It will not be difficult to leave behind all that happened here. Yes it changed me in a good way. I am wiser, stronger, and more discerning, and walk in a deeper appreciation and love for life and others. I am no longer afraid of those who lead in powerful positions and fear that I have no purpose in life. I worked through my feelings in this city and stared my life straight in the face as I wrote my thoughts on paper and had conversations with many others. I write and speak with no denial. Instead I share my struggles in this small mid western city with honesty and transparency.

Everything I do within The Relationship Project arrived in a small city in the Mid West, where I was almost destroyed. There is a river that flows through my life today and it causes me to desire to assist others in their tough times of life.  My voice continues to speak words to others, that when they experience tough times their life still has a purpose. God does not see us invaluable or love us less if we have no long line of denominational heritage as part of our family history.  At the foot of the cross we are all equal.

When God calls a man or a woman to a specific task he does the choosing and he will provide. In this we must obey and follow the call. We must follow even when it is someone like me, who lost everything of material value and continues to follow the call of Pastor.

Dreams, Picnic Baskets, Card Board Boxes and Duct Tape

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The Dream, (Part 1)

Today I opened my sleepy eyes way to early. In fact it was still dark out. I looked at the time on my phone and said, “Yes mam, back to sleep for me.” A couple of hours later I opened my eyes and this time I was wide awake. A vivid dream was immediately in my thoughts. I won’t share the dream here, maybe later in another post. All I know is this dream changed the trajectory of my day. It changed my day in a good way, a joyful way, and brings freedom to my heart, my mind and my soul. Before I share this dream, I need to make a trip to my mini storage garage and dig out a specific book. It is a book that I saw after the dream, and is the place where this journey in this city began. I smile when I think of this book. The book is beat up, has gray duct tape holding it together and torn pages, but it is special to me. My blog seems to be two parts today. Read below, this was posted on my private facebook page today. This arrived after thinking through the dream I mention here.

Picnic Baskets, Card Board Boxes and Duct Tape (Part 2)

Today I am thinking of picnic baskets and parks as I write. I miss being able to load my bag, my work, my lunch and move my office to the park. For now, this is my season away from living in close proximity to a park. The day will come again when I load up my bag, my work, and my lunch and off I will go.

Yes, it is possible to work hard at a park and accomplish much! You see, I asked God to give me a job where I can work anywhere or live anywhere and he is answering with the ocean. God does not always speak to us and direct us where to live, where to lead, and where to plant a church, by placing us in a box with no choices and wrap it tight with duct tape.

So to those who are sitting on the sidelines with a cardboard box and duct tape and calling it obedience, you will be waiting for a long time for this lady to jump in and allow you to seal me up! God’s obedience, is not a heavy weight that he places around our neck!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1