Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Sikh man, a Missed meeting and one Strange brown boot


Late, I'm going to be late, was the phrase bandying about my head as I clomped down the pavement from the house into the city. I was meeting up with a friend and was running behind schedule.

My trendy right boot was missing it's rubber heel "cap" (?) and made an abnormally loud, hollow sound in contrast to the intact left one, as I made my way to the city center.

I sounded like a peg-legged pirate.

I reached the High Street and weaved in and around the slow moving throng.

Finally, I reached the cascading fountain at the city center - where I was to meet up with my friend. I was quite pleased with my efforts as I had an extra minute to spare, so I sat down on an empty iron bench, sufficiently winded and my feet slightly angry from their forced exertion while stuffed into uncomfortable boots.

As I sat there, my head reeled a bit from the sudden shift from constant movement-to-standstill after 25 minutes of speed-walking.

I gulped in crisp, autumnal air and eventually the earth took on a more steady keel.

My head swerved back and forth as I tried to spy my friend, imagining her smiling face on every fuzzy human form before they came into focus and proved me wrong.

I wondered if she was running late and felt through my skirt pocket for my phone to check if she'd messaged me. My heart temporarily skidded to a halt.

No phone. Aghhh aggravations!

It was very unlike me to leave the house without the thing and I kind of sat there a little stunned at my idiocy. Of all the times not to have it!

Coincidence?… Hmmm…

I sat there and let my eyes travel up the face of the clock tower and saw it was now five after.

Well, either she was running a bit late or she forgot.

Okay God, where are you in this situation? Did you really mean for me to waste my time in coming all the way into the city to miss this appointment? 

Isn't this what you are always asking Me for? 

A crispy leaf flitted past my feet.

Um...huh? I dont understand. Is that you God?

A little girl posed by the fountain in front of me as her delighted mother snapped a photo.

Nah, probably just me…  

I took stock of my immediate surroundings and enjoyed the kaleidoscope of life that danced before my eyes. It was a flurry of people fulfilling personal errands and tasks with no time to spare.

And then...

Someone sat down next to me.

I admit my immediate, ungracious thoughts went something like this:
Come on now, bench intruder... There are like 5 other free benches (!!) in the vicinity, why did you have to choose mine?? 

I surreptitiously snuck a peak.

It was a Sikh man, probably in his mid-forties with a raven black beard and turban. He was bundled in a camel-colored coat with a purple scarf wrapped tightly around his neck against the chill air.

One of the aspects I love about living in England and in particular in this city is the incredibly multi-cultural demographic. It is truly fascinating.

God nudged my heart again. Are you available right now in this moment?

Ohh okay, right!! Yes!! Sorry, I'm a bit slow to catch on this morning.

I felt like I should start a conversation and just see if God was wanting to say anything through it... so I turned and made a thoroughly British comment -something about the weather. He smiled widely and asked me where I was from, recognizing my "foreign" accent. A very useful conversation starter :)

We started talking and I found out he was up from London waiting to meet a client here in the city to give them an astrology reading (of all things!)

It was definitely a God-driven conversation and I was able to ask him about his life. And then when he asked me why I was in the country it provided me an opportunity to share a bit about what I was doing here... I heard some of his confusion about what we believe as Christians ...  He said he didn't know too much about Jesus but believed He was a "good man" (always an interesting view given Jesus' claims)

I was able to share simply about Jesus and tried to bring the Gospel in a context that he could relate to. He was very open to hear and in the end I was able to pray a blessing over him - that Jesus would make himself real to him and that he would experience Truth in his life. He thanked me afterwards with a jolly smile and said he was glad to have met and then set off to meet his client.

Derbyshire, England
It was a brief encounter and my prayer is that through the conversation, he is one step closer to having a full revelation of Jesus. 

I scanned the area once more, now realizing I wasn't here to meet up with my friend today, like I originally thought as it was well past our meeting time.

As the cadence of my clickety clicking boots accompanied me on my way back home I thought more on the whole incident.
You know, I often tell God, I want to be available for him to use me wherever I am, but often forget that this means I have to be intentional about looking - actively - for opportunities that may intersect along my path.

It's so easy to take the natural -comfortable route. The it's-Saturday-and-I-cant-be-bothered route.

It can be time consuming to stop and risk making fool of myself…to have a change in plans that could take who knows how long...

But I wonder how many opportunities I've missed that initially seemed like random mundane encounters and actually the Holy Spirit was giving me an opportunity to be His Salt and Light.

This encounter was a good reminder for me not to despise these moments. To look for the Divine in every situation.

God weaves His tale of redemption through nature, and through history, and through all of our lives.

I am honored to be a part of this journey and to bear the precious name of Jesus.

Here's hoping to take advantage of all the "coincidences" and chance encounters and remember to keep asking Holy Spirit, are you wanting to do something here?

Through me..?


Matthew 5:13-16“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to ALL in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Keep shining bright my friends :)




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DoubleDecker photo niceness...


Traveling thru London by double decker bus gives such a fun glimpse into its beautiful architecture and stunning uniqueness as a city in a convenient and nicely busish vantage point. Of course for this photo nerd, I can happily sit by the window gleefully taking photos with my nose pressed to the window and it's perfectly acceptable. I had such memorable time visiting family, friends and supporters stateside this last month and thankful for the safe trip back...


Travel in a nutshell: 
After 24 hours of plane hopping from Tampa to Miami to London, with fiction filled layovers and meals that have recognizable labels, but taste like they may have landed here from another planet's food chain. Crowding into Underground tube stations and yanking my two ton luggage over that Gap. Paying to use the toilet at the Coach station (???err still not reconciled to having to pay to go into toilets here. PS. They don't seem any cleaner than the free ones, in fact usually worse- just sayin). And then a 4 hour journey by bus to Derby, with only one mild occurrence as an irate couple, who missed their stop, proceeded to curse our bus driver to some God forsaken land, namely hell, because he wouldn't drive them back. 

All in all though, a smooth, successful traveling experience. And to top it off my lovely friends on the YWAM base cooked me a delicious curry to welcome me home. Best part :)

I suppose, craziness of YWAM life, you may now resume pace...


The boys and I (my bro and dad pictured)




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Amsterdam photo love


The Netherlands is a lovely country, and the city of Amsterdam, with all its narrow canals and fascinating, building architecture, truly breathtaking.

            We recently arrived back from 
spending 6 unforgettable weeks in this city and a couple other surrounding areas during this year's DTS overseas outreach. It was so much fun for our team to be able to share Jesus with people from all over the world 
through a variety of ways within these city streets. 

We saw God challenging our team to grow in confidence in stepping out in various forms of evangelism. Our team shared the Gospel and prayed with people, sang worship & praise songs in the narrow streets and declared scripture around the city, ministered to homeless and drug dealers and participated in practical helps projects.  

One of the areas we ministered in was the Red Light District, reaching out to the ladies behind the windows. We offered teas, coffee and listening ears to hear their stories and those shared were heartbreaking. Many were open to praying with us and we even saw one of the ladies come to accept Christ and leave that life behind. Please pray that these women have a revelation of their identity in Christ and that all of these windows would close up for good!
__________

In our downtime, when not sampling Dutch Stroopwafels or taking much welcomed naps, I was snapping away on my camera and wanted to share a brief glimpse of the sights for you...
If you ever get the opportunity, I would highly recommend a venture through this picturesque land...


The End.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Finding God's Will for Your Life

Brilliant time at the DTS Gathering that we hosted here in YWAM Derby
"Your calling 
is determined over time, 
as you process 
what you want to do, 
what God has gifted you to do 
and the opportunities He’s placed before you. 
More often than not, 
your calling is a gradual process 
that is 
solidified 
over time."
-excerpt from "The Gospel and..."
photos in this post taken by Fernando Azevedo Nunes (this one at the lovely Derby Cathedral)
In my study time with God, I've been trying to figure out what it looks like to find His perfect will for one's life.

I mean, what the heck does that even mean?? Perfect will.

This is the burning question in our current Discipleship Training School (DTS) student's hearts and minds as their DTS rolls to a swift and ever closer conclusion. Only three more months to go!

It's the burning question that is on pretty much ALL of our young people's minds today as they approach Uni-age...and on the minds of many middle-aged peoples and all the inbetween aged folk as well. Really I think it starts for all of us around 5 or 6 when well-meaning relatives and slightly obnoxious strangers in the food checkout line turn eager eyes on us and pepper us with the, what do you want to be when you grow up?? question...

Fun fact for you:
The average professional changes jobs 10-15 times in their career. 
(Bureau of Labor Statistics)

There is clearly a bit of uncertainty in the path many of us feel we are supposed to head down. That and we are easily bored because we settle for jobs that maybe pay well, but don't necessarily provide us with any sense of fulfillment.

For me, during my twenties, I changed jobs MANY, many times. Never landing on one that I felt ultimately was IT.

So how do we weigh all of the options out there for what we could do and all of our own personal interests and what we think we'd like to do and then weigh it all in with what God wants us to do?

Even now, for me, when I know I am in the center of God's will for me, I am so used to entertaining this barrage of thoughts:

Goes something like,

Am I really doing what He has called me to do? Am I sure I heard Him correctly? Am I equipped in the best way I can be?? Is there anything I have overlooked?? Surely if I'm enjoying it too much or say, not enough, then it must not be right...err...right?

I read a very though provoking book by Andrew Wommack, 
How to Find, Follow and Fulfill God's Will For Your Life. 

Wommack says some really interesting things in it...
one of my main take aways was this quote:

It's not difficult to have God lead us. 
We just need to love God with our whole heart 
and commit our lives to Him, 
then as we DELIGHT in the Lord, 
He will put HIS DESIRES in our hearts.
When we delight ourselves in the Lord, 
He changes the desires of our heart 
to align with our purpose in life. 
We can trust those desires. -Wommack

What  I am starting to really see is that as we abide in Him, fixing our hearts and minds on Jesus, enjoying ALL of Him and intimate relationship with Him, ALL other things in life fall into place according to His best plans and purposes. 

Matthew 6:36
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, 
and ALL these things will be added to you.

We were all created for meaningful and inspired purpose and destiny in Christ. 

The key, I'm finding comes from resting and enjoying Him first and foremost. Quieting that worrying mind of ours...

In His timing he will absolutely reveal that thing we were made to do.

We may not always have the whole, detailed map of it but we'll have the next step. The task may last a year or two and then change -that definitely happens or it may occupy a lifetime...

God is so big and infinite and the cool thing is,
Our personal relationship with Jesus allows Him to GUIDE us individually.

We MUST NOT compare our journey or what we think we 'should be' doing with anybody else's life.

There is NO ONE else like you or me out there in the vast world. We are entirely unique as is our calling.

Jesus’ first job was not as a preacher, teacher, leader or healer.
His first
 
job was as a blue-collar worker. For twenty years, the majority of His 

life, He worked an ordinary job, as a carpenter.

We were made to work, but we are not defined by our work. 
Jesus’ work, His title, His salary didn’t define Him. His Father defined Him. 
His Father gave Him value. Because of this, Jesus could enjoy His work."
-another excerpt from "The Gospel and..."


God creates and calls all of us to different professions and vocations. 
He calls some to be church planters and pastors, some to be entrepreneurs, businessmen, custodians, construction workers, artists and doctors.

What would you choose?

Practically...One way we can start honing in on these God-given desires is by making a list of things we enjoy doing and giving ourselves permission to add those things that we think might be over the top or that others might laugh at---but if money wasn't an option and you could DO ANYTHING...???? What would you do??/ Put it all down!!

Then...

Relax.

Don't stress.

Rest in Christ and lay these ideas before Him. As we love Him and enjoy Him in relationship, we let all of our hopes and desires be filtered through His love and grace... the more time you spend conscious of Him and Him IN you, you will find that He is overflowing out of you and that He is filling you with God-desires and dreams and visions.

Then when He says GO, we can step out in faith and do all that He has set before us to do with excitement and purpose because we are doing it with Someone we know, trust and love. And we will be doing what we were made to do.

Loving God and ENJOYING Him forever 
is our ultimate calling! 
EVERYTHING else, flows out of that.

I'll leave you with a quote from David Platt in his book, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live:
"We go to Him. We spend time with Him. We sincerely listen to His Word as we walk in obedience to it. As we do these things, God leads and guide us according to His will, and suddenly we realize that finding God's will is not a road map just waiting to be unearthed somewhere... 
Instead, it’s a relationship that God wants us to experience every day. The goal of the disciple of Jesus, then, is not to answer the question, “What is God’s will for my life?” The goal, instead, is to walk in God’s will on a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis."


Friday, January 24, 2014

Finally, First Look at Derby

This blog has been a bit silent for the past couple months!
Not for lack of things to write or pictures to post,
but for lack of the illusive thing called extra time!

I've been serving as missions staff of a DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM in Derby, England for 5 months now which is CRAZY and still at times, hard to believe that I'm on distant shores and separated many thousands of miles away from all that has been familiar to me 
in my life up until this point.

It is fascinating being submerged in an entirely different culture.
For, although we speak the 'same' language...
English and American culture, norms and use of language is and can be, quite divergent.

My DTS team is amazing. The staff and students that I get to daily spend my time with are each inspiring and fun and challenging me to grow in many ways. 

Below is a brief visual glimpse into the city that I am living in and our wonderful Urban Missions DTS.

Am determined to get back into regular swing with my bloggy. 
Hope my friends and readers out there in the blogosphere are well and tackling this 2014 new year 
with major gusto and fullness of grace and joy!





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...