Announcement: I’M MOVING BACK TO DALLAS!

Silly family send off at the end of my externship

Silly TPR staff send off at the end of my externship.

You heard right, and this is NOT a drill — by this time next year I expect to be on full-time missionary staff with The Prayer Room DFW!!

I’ve been sitting on this announcement for months, wanting to make sure that it was really God’s calling. At this point I’m 99.3% sure that it’s happening… who am I kidding, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

As you probably know, I spent all of last semester serving as an extern at The Prayer Room DFW (TPR) in Arlington, TX, which is right in between Dallas and Ft. Worth. While I was there I fell so in love with that house of prayer. Their heart and their vision for 24/7 prayer until Jesus’ return is exactly in line with the passions God has placed in my heart, and their beautiful community has made me feel like a lifelong family member since day one.

I didn’t plan to go back after my externship, but once I got the idea in my head sometime in September, I couldn’t get it out. My heart has been knit to that community, and I want to labour alongside them to build 24/7 prayer and to equip the Body of Christ to be with Jesus where He is. I’ll be doing some of the same things I did there before – worship leading, administrative tasks (possibly as Community Life assistant again), and I’m sure a lot more as well.

There are really four specific things that stand out to me about TPR:

  1. The prayer room itself. I’ve never known another house of prayer that takes its prayer room more seriously. There’s a stubborn refusal to let the fire go out no matter what! I’ve heard so many stories of two people rotating hour by hour through snowstorms when no one else could get to the building, beginning piano students thrown into worship leading when no one else could get there, even playing guitar in a closet when the police showed up! They take their mandate of 24/7 prayer very seriously.
  2. The community. TPR is a family. Most of the community has lived in someone else’s house or opened up their house at one point or another. They really do walk with each other through every kind of joy and sorrow. They hang out constantly and laugh a lot. Night and day prayer is FUN when you do it with your best friends.
  3. The end times. When God called me into the prayer movement, He got me in with the vision of how He is raising up 24/7 prayer in this generation to prepare the church and the world for the events surrounding Jesus’ return. I can’t imagine doing this without that understanding as foundational. TPR has a strong emphasis on understanding the end times and its relationship to the prayer movement. Not every house of prayer has that emphasis (and God may not be calling them to emphasise it!) but for me, this was very important.
  4. Teaching. I believe I have some level of a teaching gift on my life, and part of TPR’s vision is to raise up and equip teachers of the Word. They once had a Bible school and hopefully will again soon, and they want to be a regional training centre with as much influence and reach as God will give them. This would the perfect place for me to learn and grow and spread my wings as a teacher.

I will graduate from IHOPU in May, and then I’ll go home to California for a while to focus on raising financial partnership. Depending on how that goes, I may move to Dallas as late as January 2017 – which would allow me to spend the holidays with my family!

I’ve moved around a lot the past few years, but this will be the first time I’ve moved away from home indefinitely. It’s a huge transition, but I know in my gut I belong there.

Worsh

Worship leading in my prayer room.

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The Prayer Room DFW’s 10th Anniversary!

In September, while I was an extern at The Prayer Room DFW (TPR), the ministry turned ten. In 2005, God gave a clear and dramatic word to TPR’s director, Brad Stroup, in his living room that said, “Start a daily prayer meeting tomorrow morning at 5am and don’t stop until I come back.” It was the kind of word that you do NOT question or disobey. So next morning at 5am, Brad and a few loyal friends held a prayer meeting in his living room. Eventually they added more daily prayer meetings throughout the day… and they moved out into another building… and another building… and another building… and today they are running 18 hours a day, 7 days a week of live prayer and worship in their OWN magnificent new missions base!

So technically, the anniversary was in September, and we dedicated a Saturday night Encounter service to it at that time, but since we expected to get into our new building any day at that time, we decided to hold off and celebrate the two milestones together in one properly epic event. It ended up taking a lot more time than expected to get into the building, so the combined event wasn’t held until Saturday, February 27.

I drove down to Dallas that weekend with my classmate Chris, who had also been an extern at TPR. On Saturday we enjoyed a lunch event in the prayer room that was mostly attended by core community members, featuring trivia, videos, stories, and much laughter. In the afternoon I was asked to step in as worship leader for the 3-5pm set–luckily I had my music notebook and lots of experience leading devotional sets on the fly!

That evening at 5:00 the Saturday night Encounter service was properly joyful, memorable, inspiring, and sacred. God has been so, so faithful to this community of worshipers and intercessors.

I’m so glad Chris and I got to drive down for this event. Even though many IHOPers were invited, we were the only ones from Kansas City who could make it! Being there in the new prayer room that I invested so much prayer (and paint!) into with my beloved TPR family felt like coming home.

four generations of externs

Brad with four generations of externs (and a photobomb)!

10th anniversary

Brad speaking at The Prayer Room’s 10th anniversary celebration IN OUR BEAUTIFUL BRAND NEW PRAYER ROOM!!!

Sunday devo

Leading a devotional worship set in the new prayer room on Sunday morning.

(...Did I mention we have a new prayer room?)

(…Did I mention we have a new prayer room?!)

Download: The Beauty of Jesus Teaching

teaching 2 for insta

He is not glistening white marble. He is the playfulness of creation, scandal and utter goodness, the generosity of the ocean and the ferocity of a thunderstorm; he is cunning as a snake and gentle as a whisper; the gladness of sunshine and the humility of a thirty-mile walk by foot on a dirt road. Reclining at a meal, laughing with friends, and then going to the cross.

This is what we mean when we say Jesus is beautiful.

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge

 

A few weeks ago before I finished my externship at The Prayer Room DFW, I presented another short teaching to a few of the staff. I taught on the beauty of Jesus, and although I could never hope to encapsulate all that means in one 20 minute teaching, I simply wanted to invite us to gaze again on the brilliance of Jesus’ personality. I focussed on three specific aspects of His character: His justice, joy, and humility.

This is perhaps my favourite thing ever to talk about. Every aspect of who Jesus is is so perfect and incredible to me. Beautiful. I never want to stop being fascinated by this Man.

As with my previous teachings on Mary of Bethany and the Priesthood, I have both the audio and the notes available for download!

MP3 teaching – The Beauty of Jesus teaching at TPR 12-1-15

PDF notes – The Beauty of Jesus teaching notes 12-1-15

While you’re at it, listen to “Beauty Beauty” by David Brymer and “The Beauty of This Man” by Tim Reimherr!

My Last Weekend in Texas…

“Nothing’s sad till it’s over. Then everything is.”
~Doctor Who, “Hell Bent”

last devo

I’m going to miss this view.

I am finally at the end of my externship in Texas at The Prayer Room DFW. I worship led my last set this morning. We have our staff Christmas party tonight, then packing all day tomorrow before Encounter service, and leaving early on Sunday morning to arrive home in California on Monday night. I’ll spend about five weeks at home over the holidays before returning to Kansas City for my final semester in IHOPU.

As you know if you’ve been following my other recent blogs, I love The Prayer Room. A lot. I feel more bonded to the people and vision at this place than possibly anywhere I’ve ever been. It feels a bit like when I worked at camp for three years… but there, I was still an on-and-off seasonal employee, most of the staff was transitory as well, and even though it was a Christian camp, our days did not necessarily consist of pursuing God together. It feels so weird to be leaving a place where almost all of the community is deeply rooted and we’ve literally made it our job to pray together. Even at IHOPKC, the community isn’t this tight-knit and rooted. I’m the only one leaving right now, and life will continue as usual without me… except not, because God is doing some big things around here. We’re going to be getting into our new building very soon, with lots of exciting changes related to that. And I won’t be here for it.

This is hardly my first time feeling my heart tear as I leave a place. It’s not even my first time blogging about it. The only way I know how to deal with painful goodbyes is to remember that Jesus goes with me, and He alone is my true home.

Yesterday (after watching the aforementioned Doctor Who season finale in which we said drawn-out traumatic goodbyes to beloved characters, which of course only exacerbated my emotional fragility) I was finding a lot of comfort in Psalm 139.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
~Psalm 139:7-10

“Even there Your hand shall lead me.” I love that promise. No matter how far I go, God will lead me. He is my Good Shepherd, and He will never leave me or forsake me. He is exactly the same in California as He is in Texas or Missouri.

So see you later, Texas. Thanks for the welcome.

#honorarytexan

 

Download: Priesthood Teaching

priesthood instagram 2Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a short teaching to a few of the staff at The Prayer Room. This was one of my externship requirements, and I had a lot of fun studying and praying through my chosen topic, putting together notes, and then preaching for twenty minutes! I introduced my teaching with a short spoken word piece called Priest Forever that I wrote almost two years ago and have had the opportunity to perform in a couple different IHOPU venues in the past.

I spoke on the priesthood, specifically four aspects of what it means that we as modern believers are priests before God. As priests, we 1) stand before God on behalf of man and 2) stand before man on behalf of God. We do this in four specific ways:

  1. Adoration
  2. Intercession
  3. Proclamation
  4. Preparation

As I did with my previous Mary of Bethany teaching, I have both the audio and the notes available for download! The notes include the full text of the spoken word piece complete with Scripture references.

MP3 audio – Four Functions of the Priesthood teaching 11-3-15

PDF notes – Four Functions of the Priesthood with bonus Priest Forever poem

Updates and Testimonies and $50,000… what?!

It’s been quite an exciting few weeks in Dallas on my externship with The Prayer Room! Here are a few highlights:

TPR collage w captions

(Oops… that little princess’ name is spelled Madilynn!)

1528707_597173963695449_443930012_nI do want to especially highlight that last happening. Jake Hamilton, a worship leader from my hometown whose music and ministry have been impacting me since high school, came to Dallas to play at a coffee shop as a benefit for Unlikely Heroes, a nonprofit for the restoration of human trafficking victims. It was a joy to catch up with him briefly, and it was an honour to support their efforts to house and restore these girls. I’d encourage you to check out Unlikely Heroes at unlikelyheroes.com and help however you can!

Okay, MAJOR testimony and prayer request…

Something very exciting has been happening in the life of The Prayer Room as a whole. A few months ago, God started talking to the community about moving to a new building, and He had a particular place in mind. He did a miracle to get them the building, but then the real struggle began. Remodelling has been a little bit like the Cary Grant movie “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” – nothing has gone to plan and everything is expensive.

Original artist's rendering of the new building

Artist’s original rendering of the new building

God has broken in in major ways for us already. A few months ago, this happened: (Seriously, no excuses, you need to watch the video.)

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God gave us $50,000 in cash as a surprise, anonymous donation!! Our director, Brad, found a basket of cash in the prayer room one morning. That allowed us to get the remodel project off the ground.

Soon enough, we hit another series of roadblocks that made it impossible for us to continue paying our contractors. Work was at a virtual standstill, until…

God gave us $50,000 in cash as a surprise, anonymous donation!!

Yep, you read that right; there’s not a glitch in the Matrix. Brad and his wife found a gift bag of cash on the back porch of their home just a couple of weeks ago. God did it again and now we have enough money to get a certificate of occupancy and be in the building by early October!!

However… we still need another $50,000 to pay off our debt and get the basic furnishings we need to make the new building fully functional. As a community, we’re all daily pressing in in prayer for God to break in again. We’re also asking Him to bring us more monthly partners so we can be financially stable on a monthly basis.

Please pray with us for continued financial breakthrough. God has spoken and done so much to make it so clear that He really, really wants to place us in this building. Only He can do it!

For more details and updates on the remodel project, visit The Prayer Room’s building update page.

This will be the lobby of the new building.

This will be the lobby of the new building.

This will be the prayer room of the new building. The stage will be in that right corner.

This will be the prayer room of the new building. The stage will be in that right corner.