Victory

Have you ever cheated when reading a book, and flipped to the last page to see if the hero made it out alive?

Or read a spoiler online about a movie you’re going to see to avoid living in an hour and 30 minutes of the unknown?

Does he get the girl?
Do they win the war?
Does she live or die?

When you know the outcome, it changes the way you read the book, or watch the film. Different things pop out that foreshadow the ending. Or the battle scene isn’t as anxiety ridden, because you know they will win.

Can I tell you something? The battle’s already been won. The victory is done. Do you know this? And I mean KNOW know this. Like, LIVE this KNOW this?

How differently would you live you life when you had this realization, constantly in the front of your mind? Can you imagine the peace, clarity and wisdom that you would have, in abundance, if you lived like you knew that God already has it taken care of, and the battle has already been won?

YOU GUYS. THE. BATTLE. HAS. BEEN. WON.

When Jesus died on the cross, he said, “tetelstai,” meaning “it is finished.

So what happens when the storm comes, but this time, you know that you come out of it, unscathed? What happens when you enter the fight, but this time, you know that He has overcome?

You walk through it with peace and rest.

Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7

God is good, and He has overcome.

 

 

 

 

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Why Worship?

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I’m a terrible blogger.  I’ve been silent.  But this time around, I’ve had pretty good reason.  Hooray for big changes, and even bigger leaps of faith.  Before I get into that, let me talk about worship for a second.

I used to be ‘that person’.  The person that would stand during worship, slightly judging everyone around me with their hands in the air, or God forbid, DANCING during worship.

I thought everyone who did these things was simply putting on a show.  I was raised Catholic, we sang hymns out of an old book, that was the extent of my worship.  I got to college where I studied theatre and had no revelation of worship.  I saw the hands, wanted to physically put them down for them, because I was the one sitting in the pews sobbing the whole time.  Something was missing.

Once you have revelation on WHO God is, you won’t be able to help yourself.  Do you know all of the names God goes by in the Bible?  Let me give you a small sample.

  • Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that Heals
  • Jehovah Raah – The Lord my Shepherd
  • Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Provider
  • Jehovah Shalom – The Lord of Peace
  • Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord Who Sanctifies You
  • El Olam – The Everlasting God
  • El Shaddai – Lord God Almightly

If God never did another good thing in your life again, if there was ONLY the Cross, He is deserving of praise.  BUT, He continually does do good, and will…  Now seriously, how could you help yourself?

The word “worship” comes from “worth-ship”, or to put worth on something.  I think it’s interesting, that in both the original Greek and Hebrew meanings of the word we use as ‘worship’, it actually has nothing to do with music.   The word they use actually translates closer to bowing down.  In bowing down to God, we are submitting to his authority, and being obedient.

What I love about this, is that everything we do is an opportunity to worship.  The way we live, the way we serve, the way we give, the way we love, is all worship.
I can barely articulate my heart for worship because I try, then my heart wants to explode, then I’m left speechless because it’s so good.  It’s so so good.  Why?  Because it has absolutely nothing to do with us, and absolutely everything to do with the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, and the Alpha and Omega, and the Creator of the Universe, and the lover of your soul…
So, why the silence?
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Very long story short, I am taking a year to volunteer my time + energy + heart to fill a gap that our church currently doesn’t have the resource for.  I will be working with our staff to help run our worship team, whatever that may look like at the time.  I am working on raising sponsorships to be able to do this, so feel free to check out the site for a little more information.  It is a work in progress at the moment, but we’re getting there.  Please keep in mind, I am NOT asking you (as a reader) for money.  If you really feel like you want to support this, amazing.  What I’m asking for is prayer for the year itself, and an abundance of vision, growth, and right placement for what God wants us to be doing.
I am so excited for what’s to come, and the crazy stories we’ll be able to tell. 😉  Leaps of faith + obedience usually set up some pretty awesome scenarios.

Forgiven

Brian Johnson – Forgiven

This song has been completely ruining me lately.

At our Good Friday service I struggled to sing any of it with our worship pastor, because I was a crying mess.

When I talked to our lead pastor Andi about doing this song last week to go with her “Forgiven” message, a tiny part of me was hoping she’d say no, because it overwhelms me (in the best possible way).

Thankfully, grace covers my emotion when I need to lead others, but man, I am so wrecked by His love. It makes no sense. It is good and abundant and covers us when we are both ugly and beautiful. When we are something to be proud of, and when we are not. When we are forgiving and unforgiving. When we are holy, when we are worldly. When we are kind and when we are mean. When we are generous and when we are uncharitable. His love always covers us. His love is always overwhelming.

I was listening to the Brooklyn recording of worship on my way to our Union Square service last night and I had an image pop into my head. It was nothing crazy, just an image of what the song is saying, but once again, I cried.

I saw myself at the foot of the cross. Beautiful, whole, and clean, wearing white and flowers, the perfect version of me, crying on the ground, being comforted and embraced by a bloodied, beaten and crucified Jesus.

That might sound a little brutal, but that’s what He did for us.  We are beautiful and perfect and whole because of the cross. It is incredible, and I am undone.

And this is why we worship. How could you not?  How could you contain a love like this?  How could you not be on your knees?  Once you know, you are never the same. Once grace, mercy and love catches you, you are never, ever the same.

God is so so so so so good.

… and we can’t help ourselves.

A handful of my worship team did Bethel’s WorshipU over the Fall.

I took so much away from it, but one of the things that has continued to stick with me the most, is one of the last sessions I watched.

I quickly fell behind in WorshipU, busy work/life made me choose to skip a few sessions, and I skipped a 2.5 hour worship session, led by Sean Feucht.

My friend Tim pointed out a section that made the entire thing unmissible, and I’d have to agree.

Sean was talking about why he worships, and his answer astounded me.

“We’re totally inebriated and intoxicated with the beauty of who He is, we can’t help ourselves.”

It floored me.  It is the most beautiful answer.  And it begged the question: How often is that MY answer?

Our worship should always come from that overflow.  Regardless of life’s current situation.  We should always be absolutely in awe of who HE is, in every circumstance.

This post is a simple one.  I just wanted to share the thought, because it was incredibly impactful for me, even months later.

 

A Song of Victory

My friend Tyler sent me this song a little while ago…  But for some reason, this past week, it’s lit a new fire.

Will Reagan – Take Back

With the Wind at our backs
And in the strength of the Lord
We will rise on the wings of the dawn

We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen

With the Wind at our backs
And in the strength of the Lord
We will rise on the wings of the dawn

We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen
We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen

It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
I know God has not forgotten all that’s lost and broken
So come and see the turning of the tides
Come and see his sons and daughters rise

For how could He who did not spare His own Son
Not freely give us victory against the darkest of nights

We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen
We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen

We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell

It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy

You’re Worthy
You’re Worthy
You’re Worthy
You’re Worthy

 

Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”

There is so much power in the words you speak AND the words you sing.  Sing from a place of victory, for the battle has already been won.

 

Living Water

God gave me the most vivid and clear vision I’ve ever had about 6 weeks ago.  I had a pretty good understanding of it, but it wasn’t until last week that I felt I got the last piece of what God was communicating, and naturally, I’m excited to share it, because it blew my mind.

I’m mostly a ‘to the point’ person, so I’ll do my best to paint this picture for you.  (Descriptive writing was not my strong suit)

In the beginning of the vision, I saw a heart.  Around the heart, was a dam.  Water started to pour out of the heart, and the dam was broken.

I then saw myself standing on this really beautiful piece of land, it wasn’t like anything I have actually seen before.  As the water continued to pour out, it covered the land.  But it was calm, and nothing about this was scary.  As the water rose, I rose with it, standing on the water.  It got to a point, where I was so high, I looked up and saw God.  He was sitting with Jesus, looking down onto the land with absolute adoration.  When I looked back down, I realized I was in a position where I was seeing the world, exactly the way God saw it in that moment.

The water receded, and the land was even more beautiful than before.  Everything was clean.  Everything was new.  Literally, sparkling.

SO, fast forward to last week, I was talking about this vision, and someone said to me, ‘it’s interesting it was water, like living water.’

YES.  I was so overtaken by the beautiful scene that God has given to me, I didn’t immediately tie it to scripture.

John 7:37-39 says:

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

I knew this scripture, but I felt what God showed me is not only will living water (the Holy Spirit) flow from your heart, but you can see the world the way He sees it when this happens.

This was all weeks ago, and I’m still blown away by it.

What’s crazy awesome, is God WANTS to give us so many things.  The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, seeing the world, and His people, the way He sees it…   And it often seems the only thing that truly interferes, is ourselves.

For me, I am doing my best to not be in the way.   To stop second guessing, self editing, and just be a conduit (see what I did there?) for Him to do what He wants to do through me.

It is,  by far, the best partnership that we will ever get to be a part of.

 

Conduit

God has been up to something at Liberty Church.

I can’t explain it, but I’m glad I can’t.  The second I can comprehend what God is up to with my little human mind, He’s not really God anymore.  I’ve learned to embrace and love the unexpected.

Two pretty cool things happened Sunday night, one of which I shared with my Worship team, and I want to share with you as well.

I led worship at our Brooklyn Community on Sunday morning.  We did the song “Set a Fire”.  I was walking to my apartment, from the train, and praying those lyrics.

Set a fire, down in my soul.  That I can’t contain, and I can’t control.  I want more of you God.  I want more of you God.

I was praying and asking God for more of Him, in every second of my life.  To have more Words for people, to see more healings and miracles, to be full of Him in every single thing I do, and to be used for His glory.

Then I just heard God say, “a conduit.”

I knew what this word meant, but wanted to look it up when I got home to make sure I was right.  This is the definition.

con·duit

noun \ˈkän-ˌdü-ət, -ˌdyü- also -dwət, -dət\

: a pipe or tube through which something (such as water or wire) passes

: someone or something that is used as a way of sending something (such as information or money) from one place or person to another.

YES.  (God nailed it, as He does.)  That’s exactly what I want to be.  I simply want to be the thing that God has to pass through, (when He needs me to be that of course, otherwise i’m happy to get out of the way) to send his love, mercy, grace, Word, etc., to others.  That literally, I am a vessel that’s only used for Him to pass through, from one place to another, from one person to another.

When I’m leading worship, I often pray, and picture, that I am solely a vessel for what God wants to do on a Sunday.  That what comes out of my mouth is from Heaven, and goes directly out into our House.  That I am a pipe or tube voice through which something (such as water or wire anything God wants) passes.

God blows my mind, and I know He continually will, because He’s God.  He ALLOWS for us be used in this way, which doesn’t make any sense.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, then chooses to partner with us to build His Kingdom.  He created EVERYTHING, and yet He lets us play a part.  This makes no sense, but I am forever grateful that we get to be used for His glory.

To be a conduit, from Heaven to earth, is a goal I’m incredibly excited to live for. 

Comparison

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This is one of the most true statements I have ever heard.

And I am more guilty of it than I’d like to admit.

Up until a couple years ago, I was an actor.  That world is grossly FULL of comparison.  People can get a part over you because of their eyes are bluer, they are 3 inches taller, they chose to do the triple pirouette when you only chose the double…   It’s a business, I get it, but it sticks with you.

It’s been a journey to adjust my thought process, and something I still work on daily.

Part of the time, I’m simply being ridiculous. But the other times, I have something else to blame…

The first half of John 10:10 says:

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.”

But luckily, the verse finishes:

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.”

We were not made to live in comparison.  God created us perfectly.  And we are to have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.  I’m very aware of how this is easier said than done.  But whenever this happens, and I realize how ridiculous I’m being, I remind myself of how much God absolutely adores us, and I realize, I don’t have time to live in that.

I am called to create, to worship, to sing, to praise, to laugh, to learn, to lead, to follow, to disciple, to love, to forgive, to grow… and  to do it all as me.  Oh, I’m not like that other girl?  GOOD, I’m not meant to be.

Like I said in Guide to Awesome : Part I, embrace who you are.  Because you were made in the image of God, and THAT, is perfection.

Happy 2014!

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That’s weird, but I’m excited.

I feel a lot of expectation around 2014, and I’m starting off the year by casting vision.

I put this on my wall, which is in reference to Habakkuk 2:2-3.

It’s a constant reminder for me to constantly dream, put it on paper, and pray to be in alignment with God for the vision He has for me, my life, and my calling in this new year.

I believe this will be a big one.  Our lead pastor, Paul, said the word God has continued to give him for the year for our church is unprecedented.

Heck yes, sign me up.

Happy 2014 friends!

Momentum

We had a retreat for our Visionaries in Washington DC a few weeks ago.

One of our guest speakers was Steve Dubbeldam, who has had many successful businesses.  One of the most current is Darling Magazine, which he started with his wife.

Something he said that really stuck with me was this:

“Don’t stop moving, don’t lose momentum.  God will redirect your steps if you’re moving in the wrong direction.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I believe if, with the right heart, you are found moving in the wrong direction, God will gracefully redirect your steps.

There can be moments, even seasons, in life where you know there are steps to be taken, but you’re just unsure of the direction.  What do you do without any new word or revelation?

I believe we need to continue on with the last thing God has spoken, and stay in that until he has called us to whatever is new.

Since Steve talked about this, I’ve been looking into the idea of moving forward in the Bible.  And I’m really loving what is said in Philippians 3.  Read the whole thing if you have a couple minutes, but I want to highlight verses 10-16.

 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope].  That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].  Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.  I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.  So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.  Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.

Mmmm, that’s good.

The end goal is to pursue Him.  I love verses 13 and 14…

I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward

In writing this, and looking into moving forward, and motion, I started to research Newton’s Laws of Motion. The first law, states this:

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

I do think we need to do everything in our power to continue moving forward, and having momentum in our lives.

But, take heart my friends, God can move in any circumstance.

…unless an external force is applied to it.

God is the most powerful external force that was, is, and is to come.  Ever.

So really, I just want to encourage you, if you do feel stuck, unable to move in any direction due to any reason, have faith that God can move anyway.  Let your faith partner with God’s ability to be the external force in any circumstance.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24