7 Simple Things I Learned At IHOPKC

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Every time I come home from studying at IHOPU in Kansas City, and especially now that I’ve graduated, I am frequently asked about what I’ve learned. I’ve started realising that the question sort of makes me feel a little awkward because I’m not really sure how to answer. On the one hand, my whole life has changed and I know I understand things now that I didn’t before, but on the other hand, they’re really not deep, massive, mystically profound things. Most of them are the same old simple things we’ve always known.

It’s like when you grow up hearing “Jesus loves me” and then one day you find yourself on the floor weeping caught up in the realisation that “JESUS! LOVES!! ME!!!”

I didn’t learn a new gospel. Maybe I just saw the gospel a little bit more clearly.

So here are 7 simple things I learned at IHOPKC:

1. Jesus really likes me.

Not only does Jesus love me because “God is love” and He loves everyone, but He actually enjoys me and my personality. He loves that I’m a sci-fi geek. He loves the way I dance, differently than He loves anyone else’s dance. He enjoys my sense of humour. He gets a kick out of the way I talk to Him! He thinks about me all the time. He enjoys suprising me, making me smile, and providing for me. He wants me to be with Him all the time, and He wants to share the things that are on His heart with me. There are things that He urgently cares about, and He wants me to feel the same way He does, because that’s what friends do.

2. I don’t have to be awesome for God to like me or use me.

(This is kind of an extension of #1, but it’s huge so it gets its own point.) All of the above is still true when I screw up. I may get distracted or stuborn and wander off the path pretty frequently, but I still want to follow Him and I still let Him lead me back every time. That counts. He knows my heart better than I do. To quote Mike Bickle, there’s a difference between weakness and rebellion, and weak love is still real love.

3. The Bible is good stuff.

I mean, duh, but my enjoyment of the Bible grew like crazy when I was eating it up, searching it out, praying it, and singing it in the context of prayer and worship where my only priority was to love Jesus. I fell in love with stories I’d known since kindergarten and passages I could never make sense of in high school. The Bible is fun and super interesting when you read it with the Holy Spirit.

4. Jesus is worthy of everything.

“Worthy” just means “deserving.” Jesus deserves the full love and worship of every person, and He deserves to rule the earth forever. Everything that exists is meant to be in submission to Him– not only because He’s Creator GOD, but He actually deserves it because He is the most kind, humble, just, and wise person to ever exist. He proved it on the cross. We can confidently invite Him to rule this earth and our hearts because we trust that He can do a really, really good job.

5. Worship and intercession are a big deal and they go really well together.

Worship is super important because it’s the 24/7 activity of heaven and God fully deserves it (see #4). Intercession is super important because that’s step 1 in how we partner with God to make the things that He wants to happen happen. Combined, worship and prayer support each other and help our hearts stay connected to what we’re doing– and this effect, like, quintuples when we put the Word smack dab in the middle of everything we pray and sing. Hence, the 24/7 prayer (and worship) room.

6. God really loves Israel, like, a lot.

I’m not even sure what my theology of Israel was before IHOPU. I understood some things and had other things a little mixed up, but I had certainly never wept over Jesus’ heart for His people before. Praying through passages like Zechariah 2 peirced me. Jesus REALLY, REALLY loves and is COMMITTED to the people He originally chose as His bride. He’s really, really faithful–all His promises are yes and amen–and He will fulfill every word He ever spoke.

7. Jesus is coming soon and we are part of the story.

He promised He would come, and by all indications this era of history is nearing a climax. There will be a pretty dramatic series of events leading up to Jesus standing on the earth again, and we’re not supposed to be on the sidelines or swept out of the way. Jesus wants us awake, informed, and involved in what He’s doing. That starts now, because Jesus is looking for a global Church that is fully mature and alligned with Him when He comes. A major way we grow into that is by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to prayer and worship (see #5). Another major way is through evangelism and missions. Jesus said that the gospel will be preached to all nations before the end. There are actually a number of passages that talk about 24/7 prayer and worship arising from all over the earth in the final generation of history… so worship, prayer, and missions together are HUGE elements in the story of Jesus’ return.

 

I would have agreed with these points even before IHOPU, but while I was there, spending hours nearly every day in the prayer room, they were driven much more deeply into my heart. Of course they’re profound truths, and I am so grateful that I now have conviction, passion, and personal heart experience with each of them, but they’re so simple!

I admit, in my first few months I walked around with my head spinning thinking “WHOA, I HAD NO IDEA! THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE HAVE BEEN REVEALED TO ME!”, and yeah, I was studying areas of the Bible I hadn’t before and hearing a wider range of theories on a few details, but by my senior year I realised that none of what I was learning was dramatically new revelation. Mike Bickle isn’t a prophet or a theological pioneer, and IHOPKC reads the same Bible as everyone else. (We just sometimes preach it a little more dramatically!) Besides, at the end of the day, the more intriguing and debatable theories aren’t what I cherish. It’s simple truths like these.

I found that as I gave my time and attention to prayer and worship, simple truths came alive to me. Jesus loves me, He wants me to talk to Him, and He wants me to be part of His story.

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IHOPU Graduation: Looking Back on Four Years

(Keep scrolling and then keep scrolling some more, because I’ve got a lot of pictures for you today!)

I’ve finally graduated from college for the second time… but this time feels far more significant than when I got my bachelor’s from APU in 2010. At IHOPU, I have received invaluable teaching and discipleship in an environment saturated with prayer, worship, and the Word. I’ve caught a vision for what God is doing in raising up a global prayer and worship movement in our generation. I’ve gained a family passionately devoted to the fame of Jesus being spread throughout the earth. I’ve been equipped to teach, lead, prophesy, pray, sing, and serve. Most importantly, I’ve encountered a God who is stunningly incredible in every way, who is 100% committed to me and really likes me, and who actually does stuff when I talk to Him.

Last weekend, I walked across a stage with 82 other four-year graduates. My parents flew out from California to see me, and a few local friends came to the ceremony as well.

Graduating from IHOPU feels bittersweet. I did what I set out to do and I know that my season here is done, and I really feel like I got good fellowship and closure in the final days, but I will miss this place and these people greatly.

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

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My parents flew all the way from California to see me!

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Abigail, my roommate and dear friend

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After four years, I finally got to meet and chat with Mike Bickle.

In my small group during my last week, my leaders asked us each to summarise what God was teaching us during that past season. As I think back over the four years I’ve been in IHOPU, I can identify separate banners over each year.

Freshman year: VISION. During my freshman year, I started as an intern in the One Thing Internship. Not only did I grow in prayer and intimacy with Jesus, but the entire rhythm and focus of my life shifted. I blogged about this vision that was growing within me several times (HERE and HERE, for starters), and concluded that season with a conviction that God really is raising up a global movement of 24/7 prayer and worship in our generation, because the darkness is getting darker but the return of Jesus is right around the corner, and He WILL have a bride made ready.

Internship graduation

Internship graduation, freshman year

Sophomore year: GRACE. Now that I had a brand new idea of what my life was supposed to look like, I struggled to live up to it. I really wanted to pursue Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength with undistracted focus, but I was constantly in cycles of condemnation feeling like I was failing. I still don’t know if I’ve found a good balance, but I have a lot more peace now than I did then. I had to keep relearning grace every week.

Small group, sophomore year

Small group, sophomore year

Junior year: HEALING. After experiencing a heartbreak the week before school started, I had to walk through a LOT of healing that year. (Find my blogs reflecting on that season HERE and HERE.) It was a time of shattered emotions and many, many tears, but I encountered the tender heart of the Father who lets me just cry in His lap when I can’t even muster the energy to pray. I learned to love Him more as I fought to trust Him every day. It hurt like hell, but there was such a tender nearness during that time–and there did finally come a progressive breakthrough into freedom and joy. I am wiser, stronger, and more open-hearted because of the events of that year, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

JPR worship team, junior year

JPR worship team, junior year

Senior year: LEADERSHIP. In between my Dallas externship and College Station ministry trip (read about those HERE and HERE), I feel like this year has been about taking ownership of what I’ve learned and stepping up to do something with it. God has grown a lot of confidence in me this year, and I’ve come to realise that even though I have so much more to discover and grow in, I actually have internalised a lot and I have something to offer in ministry. I really can preach and pray and prophesy and lead worship. I really can rally, envision, and organise a team. God called me into this thing, and He’s already given me enough tools to take a few steps and get going.

Dallas externship, senior year

In my final few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the vision God planted in my during my first year. I really do believe it. I believe that God’s deepest desire is a restoration of perfect intimacy with us, and 24/7 prayer and worship that reflects the reality of heaven is a key part of how we’re going to get there. I believe that in this final era of history, God is raising up a new song of night and day worship and intercession for justice from the Church as His lovesick bride in every corner of the earth, and He will use this global worship movement to usher in the return of Jesus and the restoration of creation. It’s a big vision, but I’m fully bought in.

So what’s next? I’ll be home in California for the rest of the year, preparing to launch into full-time ministry at The Prayer Room DFW in January 2017 (read more about that HERE). I plan to be there indefinitely, which doesn’t necessarily mean forever, but no matter what comes next, I know God is writing my story and more importantly, He’s writing me into His story.

Every time I look back and remember how God has led me, I melt in awe and gratitude. He’s been so, so good to me.

Catch me up in Your story
All my life for Your glory
–“All Is For Your Glory” by Lisa Gotshall

I love you, IHOPU!

I love you, IHOPU!

College Station Ministry Trip!

It’s three weeks after the trip, and I’m finally finding the time to blog about all that happened.

As I wrote last month, our IHOPU spring ministry trip to Houston became our IHOPU spring ministry trip to College Station, and although the planning was crazy, once we got there I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was finally clear that God really had led us to partner with the College Station House of Prayer (CSHOP). We were there April 16-24.

The phrase He gave us for the week was “hope and healing,” and we certainly saw it happen! Our team was given a strong prophetic anointing and we regularly ministered to each other and to the people we met with the tender, fiery touch of the Spirit. His thoughts for us are more than the sand (Psalm 139:17-18) and this week He gave us a peek into His heart. Hearts were encouraged and restored, and at the end of the week CSHOP said they felt thoroughly blessed and refreshed (not common for a trip of this size!) and we were the best trip they had ever hosted.

I’m honestly so proud of my team. They served and loved so well this week. Here are a few highlights:

  • We spent the first night in Dallas with The Prayer Room DFW. I was sick that night and skipped ministry time to take a nap, but I loved getting to see them and see them welcome my team so warmly!
  • Sunday night we met CSHOP and helped lead their evening service. My co-leader Jesse and I both got to bring a word of encouragement. So many people told us that night touched them deeply – one girl even said she had heard the voice of God for the FIRST time!
  • We led prayer meetings with worship on the Texas A&M campus and at CSHOP (including a 12-hour prayer “burn” on campus!), evangelised with healing and prophecy on campus, and led a lot of prophetic ministry. We saw multiple healings and salvations on campus, and many people touched by the love of the Father!
  • Wednesday evening we split up and went to different small church groups. I took a small team to a college small group and where we led with a message, prayer, and ministry. We felt led to pray over the two guys that were there, that God would raise up strong men of faith for our generation!
  • That same night, one of our other teams prophesied over church members till pastmidnight, then went to Whataburger and prophesied over people in the restaurant! People were so hungry for a touch from God, and He delivered.
  • On Saturday night we hosted an event on campus called Ignite with worship, prayer, ministry, and powerful evangelistic preaching!

Even in the challenges of leadership and sickness (losing my voice while leading a worship-focused trip was frustrating), I was so touched by the love and support of my teammates. My co-leaders were phenomenal and a joy to serve with. It was an honour to be part of this trip, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

My team!

My team!

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Road trip!

Preaching at College Station House of Prayer on an IHOPU ministry trip

Preaching at Encounter God service at CSHOP.

Our team leading worship at CSHOP

Our team leading worship at CSHOP.

Monday night worship in the campus chapel.

Monday night worship in the campus chapel.

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Evangelising on campus. (This is Taylor. She grew up in church but doesn’t know Jesus. Please pray for her.)

Prophesying in Whataburger!

Prophesying in Whataburger!

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Encouraging the AMP core team at their small group.

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Scavenger hunt on campus.

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Team hangout at CSHOP director Cynthia’s house!

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Our team sharing our testimonies with the entire congregation and webstream at IHOPKC. Click the picture to watch the archive of the service!

The Call: Azusa Now

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(Credit: Luke18)

Earlier this month, I boarded a bus in Kansas City with 100 other IHOPU students (well, we had two buses) and drove 32 hours straight to Los Angeles, CA to participate in The Call: Azusa Now on April 9, and then re-boarded the bus again the next morning to drive 32 hours straight back to Kansas City. Talk about a whirlwind weekend!

Azusa Now is a massive prayer gathering organised by Lou Engle to rally this generation to cry out for revival like the Azusa Street revival of 1906. This was my first experience at one of The Call events, and I was blown away by the power and presence of God.

  • Racial reconciliation and church unity was a huge theme. Leaders from Native American, Hispanic, African American, Messianic, and Catholic communities were onstage publicly honouring each other and repenting for lack of unity.
  • Bethel, IHOPKC, Circuit Riders, and many others led worship.
  • So many leaders in the church and missions were on stage with Lou Engle – Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Loren Cunningham, Daniel Kolenda, Todd White, and many more, including my very own home pastor Danny Carroll from Water of Life!!
  • Gloria Engle and Andy Byrd both gave powerful calls to say “yes” to the call for missions.
  • People stood up from wheelchairs, hearing loss was restored, brain cancer was healed, and much more!
  • Shawn Bolz called out accurate prophetic words of knowledge from the stage to specific people in the stadium. Watch the video HERE.

We were all so stirred up on the way home. Tired as we were, we still evangelised at every gas station and held impromptu Bible studies, worship sessions, and prophetic ministry to each other in our vans. We touched God’s desire to sweep this nation with revival, and we actually started to believe it was possible.

Beyond the public move of God that we all experienced that day, the event touched me very personally. Some of these leaders and ministry styles were ones I first connected with years before I came to Kansas City, in my early days of learning to move with the Holy Spirit. I even got to see some of the California friends and leaders in my life who used to run with me in those days. In that stadium, I found myself stirred again to embrace a lifestyle of prayer for revival along with boldness in healing, prophecy, and evangelism. That passion is a precious gift that I cannot afford to let fade.

The first 12 hours of the 15 hour event are available to watch on Youtube if you missed the live stream:

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We got special passes down onto the field. (Credit: Luke18)

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Mike Bickle on stage with Lou Engle and Bill Johnson. (Credit: Luke18)

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IHOPU students crying out in the rain. (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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IHOPU students ministering to an attendee. (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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Todd White releasing faith and fire! (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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Native American believers prophetically playing traditional drums. (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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National and global ministry leaders uniting around the cross. (Credit: AzusaNow2016)

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My home pastor Danny Carroll (white shirt) praying on stage with Jack Hayford and Lou Engle. (Credit: Me!)

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Testimony from my new friend Rebekah.

 

College Station Ministry Trip Update

“College Station? Weren’t you going to Houston?”

Well, yes, Houston was the original plan two months ago. However, so many changes have occurred in the planning process that it’s almost an entirely different trip.

When I came on leadership for the trip, a certain church in Houston was planning on hosting us. Unfortunately, the pastor is fighting cancer, and he and his wife were no longer able to work with us. We spent nearly two months getting in contact with other churches and houses of prayer in the city with whom we have relationship and who would ordinarily be thrilled to host us. However, one location after another wasn’t able to host due to various extenuating circumstances.

As things have now (finally!) landed, we’re taking our ministry trip to College Station, Texas! We’ve sent ministry trips to there in the past to work with College Station House of Prayer (CSHOP), and the staff there is wonderful. Most of their ministry is centred around Texas A&M University, and they host 8am prayer meetings every weekday on campus.

CSHOP

Our vision for the trip is still centred around “hope and healing” for the local body of Christ, with a special emphasis on youth groups. We’re planning to visit and minister at several small churches in College Station, as well as an urban youth ministry called Save Our Streets. We’ll also spend lots of time connecting with CSHOP and their prayer room, as well as their prayer and outreach activities on the A&M campus.

The number of roadblocks we’ve encountered in this process is unprecedented for this type of trip. We’re all convinced that God is planning something BIG for this week of ministry.

The trip is April 16-24 — only two weeks away! We’ve been frantically trying to land the logistics and budget the past few weeks, but I think I can say now that everything is falling into place. I am so excited for the opportunity to go serve what God is doing in College Station!

Deliver Me

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A few weeks ago, I posted about my car’s breakdown and having to choose joy in the midst of stress. Here’s the sequel to that episode and what God was teaching me in it.

Idris broke down on Sunday, February 14, (happy Valentine’s Day to me) and was in the shop until Saturday, February 20. It took the mechanic a while to figure out what was wrong with it, so for almost a week, I had no answers — and no car.

The Tuesday of that week in my Desert Spirituality class (we’re studying the Egyptian Coptic monks of the 4th and 5th centuries) my teacher posed a challenge: Meditate on one verse for a week. The verse assigned was Psalm 70:1.

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me!

O Lord, make haste to help me!”

 

I admit, although I undertook the challenge enthusiastically, at first I couldn’t really connect with it. David was asking the Lord for deliverance from men who were trying to kill him. Being unable to relate to that situation and feeling pretty secure in most areas of my life, I wrestled with the question, “What do I need deliverance from?”

On Friday, while walking from my piano lesson back to the prayer room, I got a call from my mechanic. Long story short, my catalytic converter was blocked and needed to be replaced ($600) but this was only a symptom of a larger untracable problem and the blockage would only build back up over time (six months to two years) and possibly damage more things along the way, sooooo… his advice was that I start looking for a new car.

GREAT news to hear on a Friday morning!

I sat down in the prayer room, opened my journal to where I had started to write about Psalm 70:1, and thought wryly, “Welp, I know what I need deliverance from now.”

But in the next moment, I knew it wasn’t my car situation itself that I needed deliverance from. It was my attitude about my car situation.

I needed deliverance from fear. Worry. Distrust. The enemies I was fighting were all internal.

Crazy how I get the most revelation and encounter when I’m suddenly in some sort of desperate situation… when I suddenly realise how much I need Him.

At noon, right at the beginning of her set in the prayer room, Erica Jensen started singing a song by Audrey Assad that has recently become very dear to the entire IHOPKC community since Audrey sang it at Onething. (You can watch the set HERE, and you can even see me in the front row. It’s kind of weird to watch the exact moment God was impacting my heart!)

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

“I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad

It was exactly what I needed to hear.

That night, Misty Edwards sang the exact same song at Encounter God service. It was a powerful moment. Even Misty was choking up and had trouble finishing the verse. (You can watch that set HERE. The song starts around 33 minutes.)

Lord, deliver me from fear of not having what I need. Deliver me from trying to figure things out on my own. You are my shepherd, and I shall not want. I lack nothing with You. I rest in Your presence and provision.

Enjoy Audrey Assad singing I Shall Not Want at Onething 2015:

Epilogue: I paid for the repair and got Idris back on Saturday, February 20. I’ve been driving her gently ever since (except that one time I drove to Dallas last weekend…) and she’s been behaving very nicely for me.

YWAM Week of Prayer

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IHOPU students praying in the YWAM Kansas City chapel!

During our monthly Global Bridegroom Fast (GBF) week February 1-5, IHOPU continued a tradition we started last semester: the YWAM week of prayer, in which IHOPU partnered with the local YWAM base to keep a prayer room running with live worship and intercession all day long for five days. All of our JPR (the student-led Justice Prayer Room) activities were moved to YWAM Kansas City, and being in that prayer room counted for our regular prayer room hours. Classes were cancelled for GBF, so I got to spend hours every day at the YWAM base. On Tuesday I ended up being there for 8 hours straight, and Wednesday night I ended up leading a devotional worship set 11pm-midnight with only one other person in the room. It felt like I was back in my little prayer room in Dallas!

This was a really special and refreshing time for me. Especially on Tuesday when I left my phone at home, I was completely locked into the worship and intercession with no distractions. I really, really love smaller prayer rooms, especially when I know almost everyone in the room. During the times I was there, most of the people in the room were IHOPU students while the YWAM students had other activities scheduled, and almost all of them were actively engaged nearly the whole time. It felt very much like praying with family. This is why I love our JPR sets, and getting to do this in partnership with YWAM was incredibly precious.

We spent the week praying for YWAM’s mission team being sent to the island of St. Vincent. As part of a 7+ year plan to reevangelise and disciple the nations of the Caribbean, they are aiming at preaching the gospel to 50,000 people (half the island’s population) during the month of February with 21 evangelistic event nights. It was such a privilege to join with YWAM and see yet another beautiful collision of the missions movement and the prayer movement.

This is what Jesus said is supposed to happen. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) The praying and the sending were never supposed to be separated.

The team going into St. Vincent is called Impact World Tour. Check out their promo video for this tour!

Final Semester of IHOPU Begins

After four years in Kansas City, I’m finally in the home stretch of my journey here. I will be graduating in May from the House of Prayer Leadership program within the Forereunner School of Ministry at IHOPU. I’ve had so many incredible opportunities and experiences here, and I’m so looking forward to finishing strong and making the most of these last few months!

My classes this semester are (first quarter) Apologetics, Desert Spirituality, and (second quarter) Kingdom of God, Communication and Contextualization. While these classes could be taught in a very academic, intellectual way, all of my teachers have been very clear that they intend to teach in a very practical and experiential way. This isn’t about learning all the theories, though that can be helpful; this is about encountering God, being transformed, and then being used by God to transform the world around us. I’ll also be on a student worship team twice a week in our little student prayer room, and I’ll be in a small group as well.

I’ve also moved into a new house with one of my best friends, Abigail, plus an IHOPU freshman girl and another girl who is part of the IHOPKC community. The four of us love our cozy home! The family who owns this house is out of town for six months, so we all get to rent it in their absence.

The most exciting thing I’m doing this semester is co-leading a ministry trip to Houston, Texas! I will be helping lead a team of potentially 70 students to Houston to partner with local churches and houses of prayer to serve them and do outreach with them, and at the end of our ministry week we’ll put on a Onething Regional conference with speakers and worship leaders from IHOPKC. (This will be similar to what I did last year with an IHOPU team in Pasadena.)

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First ministry trip leadership meeting. (Photo: Dave Sliker)

I’m very excited for this trip. This will be the largest leadership role I’ve ever undertaken, so I guarantee I’ll feel overwhelmed at times, but I’ll have a rock-solid team and have the chance to grow in leadership and servanthood as we join God in making Houston look a little bit more like heaven.

The word I feel God giving me for this final semester is “SEEK.” I’ve been really impacted by Lauren Daigle’s song “First,” (lyric video below) which repeats the theme “I want to seek You first…” as Jesus exhorts in Matthew 6:33. I want to spend this time seeking God with all that I am without any distractions.

To that end, I will not be returning to the job I’ve had in Kansas City for the past two years. Rather, I feel God leading me to give myself fully to prayer, training, and ministry during these precious last few months in Kansas City. I do have several people partnering with me financially on a monthly basis, and I’m asking God to raise up a few more! (Hint: There is a Partner with Me tab up above if you want to hear more about how to do that…)

Even as I’m already seeing endings approaching and starting to make plans for after graduation… it’s not over yet! This semester has the potential to be the most epic season yet, and I am so excited for the ride.

Download: The Beauty of Jesus Teaching

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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!

Staff Retreat– and $40,000!!!

Every year, the staff of The Prayer Room goes on a weekend retreat together somewhere out in the country. Many call it the highlight of the year, and after being privileged to participate this year, I can see why. All 30(ish) of the staff (full-time, part-time, and volunteer) spent the entire weekend together eating, sharing stories, playing games (I got to introduce some of them to Pit!), shooting guns, making s’mores, praying, teasing, laughing… it was a wonderful time of refreshing and reenvisioning for all of us. The tight-knit friendships in this group are amazing, and I am so honoured to get to spend this season calling these people my family.

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Yes, I did.

staff retreat

Staff hang time!

While we were gone, IHOPU sent one of its best student worship teams down to Texas from Kansas City to keep the prayer and worship going in our prayer room while 90% of the people who sustain daily operations were out of town. They were amazing! They were so willing to serve and really blessed by the opportunity. Several of them said afterwards that those little sets in an empty room were the best worship experiences they’d ever had. We were all so grateful for these guys.

"Team R&R" rocked the house for us all weekend!

“Team R&R” rocked the house for us all weekend!

Also, here’s another $$ testimony…

As you may remember from my previous post, we’re in the process of remodeling a new building to house the ministry and are getting hit with one roadblock after another. God has given us two $50,000 anonymous cash donations on two separate occasions, but every time we turn around there’s another thing that needs fixing and another exorbitant city requirement and another reason to delay the process. Most recently, the city slapped us with some heretofore unmentioned fire code requirements that will cost us at least $30,000. This put us at a standstill yet again, and we redoubled our prayers for God to break in – to change the requirement, give us the money, or preferably both.

Last week, our director Brad and his wife discovered a package on their doorstep containing $40,000. In cash. Anonymously.

40,000

Merry Christmas, TPR.

HALLELUJAH.

This is exactly what we need to move forward on the remodel project and get into our new home as quickly as possible!!

The waiting sucks, but God always breaks in, and He always does so spectacularly.

People have said to me, “It’s too bad you weren’t here to see the base back before everything was so hard!” But you know what? I wouldn’t trade this season for the world. In times of hardship is when you get to see what a people is truly made of. I have seen this community cling to faith and joy, keep the fire on the altar no matter what, and intercede relentlessly for breakthrough. They have kept loving and serving and blessing and welcoming others, even when their strength feels almost gone. They have kept loving and trusting Jesus, even when the circumstances look impossible.

This is a family I am deeply honoured and delighted to journey with. And I’m super excited to help finish remodelling the building and eventually celebrate the move-in with them!

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