School of Supernatural Ministry Coming Soon!!

Finally!!!

I serve as the admin of The Prayer Room’s Forerunner Equipping Center, which in theory includes all of our schools and training programs. So far, my admin role has been confined to our Immerse internship, because that has been the only program we’ve had the strength to offer. It’s been 5 years since The Prayer Room has been able to offer anything more (last year’s weekly School of the Prophetic notwithstanding).

Over the past few weeks, our director Brad has been bursting with ideas for a new School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM). It’s been a desire of ours for years to be able to offer a program that would give in-depth training on topics such as prophecy, healing, and deliverance. We finally feel the permission and anointing of the Lord to make plans for a January 20 of our SSM. At the same time, we plan to put launching another Immerse on hold until summer or fall while we take a close look at revamping that curriculum into a slightly different direction.

SSM will run January 20 through May 12 and emphasise five components:

  • Theology (biblical teaching)
  • Equipping (instructions on how)
  • Activation (practice what you learn)
  • Ministry (ministering to people)
  • Prayer (living a lifestyle of prayer)

The schedule will be similar to our current Immerse internship schedule, but will involve some unique components:

Saturday

  • 3pm-4pm — Classroom training
  • 4pm-5pm — Application exercise in the classroom
  • 7pm-9:30pm — Encounter service

Tuesday

  • 6pm-7pm — Ministry time (ministering to people outside the school)
  • 7pm-9pm — Prayer room time together (with prayer/study assignments)

Also, students will usher an additional prayer meeting and choose another additional prayer meeting in which they have no responsibility.

We’re all SO EXCITED and I’ve already had some potential students express interest. This is going to be an amazing way to equip our community in ministering with the Holy Spirit, and will hopefully bring many more into our community!

Check out our SSM on our website HERE!

Advertisements

Special Blog from Brad Stroup: The Path to Revival

Brad does not often post blogs, though as the director of The Prayer Room he does have a blog page on our website where you can find some old blog posts. But in the aftermath of Revive Texas, there were a few things on his heart he felt strongly enough about to post and ask urgently to be read and considered by the Church. I’ve felt similarly looking around at what’s happened in DFW the past few months, and I asked Brad’s permission to share his blog post here with you.

The Path to Revival

Brad Stroup

For those who are unaware of all of the details regarding to the recent 50 day initiative of reviveTX, this post is a thought-through assessment of what transpired, what could have been, and what I believe needs to happen now.  To begin with, there were some 350 congregations in the DFW area that committed to be part of reviveTX (representing well over 100,000 believers).  Outreaches then commenced 6 days a week for 50 days from locations all over the Metroplex.  Nearly 6000 teams went out to share the gospel (though the total number of individuals represented probably only included 1,000-2,000 locals).  I would estimate that over $2,000,000 was sown into our region for all the collective efforts and needs of reviveTX to see the work go forth.  I would estimate that the net result was that some figure over 3000 people gave their lives to Jesus for the first time.  The tireless efforts of the Time to Revive team (mostly from out of town) and a few hundred locals that really poured their heart and soul into pulling this off was inspiring.  I’m grateful for every miracle, every salvation, and every blessing that came forth during the wonderful days of reviveTX and I am thankful to call all of these fine people my friends and co-laborers now.

All of that sounds encouraging, but now that reviveTX has come and gone I think it’s time for some real talk and some self assessment, and for us as Church to take a long look at what really happened and what needs to.  Why did only about 1% get invovled and what would have happened if even 25% of the churches that said they were on board would have actually particatipated?  What if just 10% of the Church in DFW would have been engaged in what God was doing, in this gift He was giving our region?

If we learned anything from the 50 days of reviveTX, it’s that DFW isn’t ready to see a revival yet.  While we say that we want revival in our city, I think that these are yet vain words that do not reflect the true state of the Church in our region.  We are all entitled to our opinion, and mine, as an intercessor who’s been praying for revival in DFW for the past 10+ years, is that we were just given the single greatest opportunity for partnership in a genuine move of God that this city has ever seen, in which God was showing us unprecented favor and salvations were happening everywhere the gospel went, and we allowed it to pass us by.  We showed a complete lack of discernment; it seems that we were disinterested in what God wanted to do, we were unresponsive to the invitation, and the window of opportunity came and went and barely anyone noticed.

To me this says a lot about where the Church of DFW is really at spiritually right now; while it may not necessarily be indicative of extreme immaturity, it really did make our priorities clear and I believe reflects a real lack of understanding of how the Kingdom of God operates.  It showed that the Church in our region is made up of individuals that as a whole right now have not died to self yet.  Overall we are unperceptive about what God wants to do in our city through His Church and we are not able to discern even revival when it is right in front of us.  We lack significantly in the area of spiritual hunger and we are totally unwilling to pay any price to see things change because there is a complacent satisfaction with the way that things are.

These statements are tough, but they are not meant as a condemnation on us; rather I want to give an accurate assessment of where things are in the hopes that we might evolve.  I have great pain in my heart about these things; I feel that I am part of the problem and I am willing to take responsibility for my lethargy (severe lack of spiritual hunger) and prayerlessness (severe lack of corporate prayer gatherings) that I believe to be the real root of our problem.  I’m not angry with the Church in our region, just the opposite– I am jealous to see us shine in the fullness of what God has for us.  I am perhaps saddened by our current reality, but even more I am invigorated to find solutions so that things are no longer permitted to remain this way.

I think it is unrealistic to think that a Church that doesn’t hunger would respond to an invitation for more.  I think that the reason that DFW didn’t respond to the incredible invitation of reviveTX is that we really aren’t hungry for God.  Taking some additional ownership here, I think that the default spiritual climate is always going to be lethargy in Western Culture because of our affluence and abundance and that rarely would any Western city have a real driving spiritual hunger unless war had been declared on that lethargy from the place of corporate unified prayer.  We aren’t hungry because we aren’t praying.  It all actually makes a lot of sense to me; I don’t like where we are but I feel that I understand it and that there is a clear prescription for how to change things.

I see a clear lack of hunger, and, while that would not be universally true of every believer in DFW, I believe that it is a reflection of the vast majority; we are simply too comfortable and self focused to care about moving the Kingdom of God forward at the moment.  I think that it all starts back at prayer which holds an irreplaceable part in this equation and which I believe to be the first element that must be firmly in place in order to see things change.  If the Church will not pray, then the Church will not take the following steps in partnership with revival either.

I am proposing that we press in for renewal and awakening as at no time in the past, but to get there we will certainly have to respond differently than we have in the past.  I want to see revival in Dallas Fort Worth and it will not come unless the Church begins to pray in a way that we have never done before.

Here is my charge: I want to charge every person in DFW who has a relationship with Jesus to join or to start your own weekly prayer meeting crying out for revival in DFW.  And once you have started attending that weekly corporate prayer meeting, I want to ask you to not stop until we see revival come to our region no matter what else may come up in your personal life.

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you (Ho. 10:12).”

 

Until He Comes,

Brad Stroup

Director of The Prayer Room Missions Base

 

Reposted with permission from theprayerroomdfw.com

Revive Texas Soft Launch & Other Updates

I’m a little late with getting this post out, but things have been super busy and exciting around here the past few weeks!

As I’ve shared beforeRevive Texas is an unprecedented movement of unity within the Church in DFW to put on 50 days of evangelism, with daily gatherings for prayer, worship, testimonies, fellowship, etc. The Prayer Room is serving as a central 24/7 prayer hub for these 50 days, and our director Brad Stroup has been working closely with Time to Revive‘s director Kyle Martin. This means that The Prayer Room is getting a HUGE spike in exposure as Brad has had numerous opportunities, in partnership with Time to Revive, to speak to congregations and leaders about our involvement with Revive Texas and what we do as a house of prayer. (Years ago, God gave TPR a clear prophetic word that we would one day be “launched to the region” and our influence would suddenly increase dramatically, and we’re starting to see how Revive Texas might be a big part of that word’s fulfillment!)

Since we’ve been praying for more church involvement, over 300 local churches are now on board with Revive Texas, including ALL of the host locations we needed! Praise the Lord!

Last Saturday, Time to Revive did a soft launch of what the 50 days of outreaches will look like. All ten of our regional host churches opened their doors early in the morning for a time of worship, encouragement, prayer, and training before 500+ believers hit the streets to share the gospel. This is the biggest movement of unity in the church of DFW for the sake of the gospel that has EVER happened. Words like “historic” and “unprecedented” are not exaggeration. And this was only the trial run! Once the 50 days starts, 500 is going to seem like a very small number. We’ll soon be gathering and going out by the thousands.

The Prayer Room had a very unique part to play on Saturday. Time to Revive asked Brad to lead the time of worship, encouragement, and prayer from our prayer room via live internet video streaming to all ten churches. This is a HUGE honour and responsibility. A few weeks ago, they donated thousands of dollars worth of cameras, lights, computers, and software to make streaming possible in our little prayer room. On Saturday’s live stream at 8am, a few worship leaders led a few familiar songs, Brad preached with 150% of his usual energy for about 15 minutes to the camera in an empty room, and then he talked the viewers through a few prayer topics and gave them time to gather in small groups to pray. The entire live stream took 45 minutes, and then at all ten of the locations people received a bit of further training and gathered in groups of 4 to hit the streets to share the gospel. This is going to be happening several days a week for the entire 50 days of Revive Texas.

You can watch the entire video at the link below. The first 30 minutes are set-up, so start around the 31 minute mark after the countdown.

Saturday morning devo/prayer for Revive Texas


Later that morning, while all 141 outreach teams were sharing the gospel all over DFW, some of the TPR staff gathered in the prayer room to pray through LIVE updates from the outreach as we received them. We were praying by name for people on the streets who were receiving prayer and hearing the gospel. Several of us felt that it was the most powerful and exciting prayer meeting we had ever been in! I had the privilege of leading worship for some of it while Luke and Lisa took turns praying through the live updates.

The stories we started hearing were incredible. One couple a team met in a parking lot said they were believers but got so excited hearing the gospel shared so clearly, and they were spontaneously convicted by the Holy Spirit of immorality and decided on the spot to get married. That’s revival. Teams shared the gospel with a father and son fishing, an entire Buddhist sports team, single moms out grocery shopping, and hundreds more. The night before the outreach, the Spanish translator at a church for the pre-launch rally got saved while translating!!

Here are some of the numbers Revive Texas reported in their recent email:

  • 549 people went out on Saturday morning throughout the 10 regions.
  • 141 teams went out to share the love of Jesus.
  • 37 people requested discipleship.
  • 12 people said YES to JESUS! 

Revive Texas made a video of the outreach that day. The video is 8 minutes long, but it’s SO worth it. Watching Kyle share the gospel in such a simple, biblical, relational way and watching people say YES to Jesus for the first time… that’s my favourite kind of thrill. Click HERE or on the picture below to see it on Revive Texas’ website.

We’re only at the beginning of hearing these testimonies. God is doing something huge in DFW, and I encourage you to pray with us for people to get involved and lives to be transformed.

One more thing: On Sunday night, Brad had the opportunity to be on an hour-long radio program for The Word 100.7 FM along with Kyle Martin talking about Revive Texas. I recorded the whole thing and you can click HERE to download and listen.

Revive Texas: 50 Days of Prayer, Unity, Evangelism, and Discipleship

First, quick update: I’m currently in Wisconsin visiting my dear friends Abigail and Rondale, whom I know from IHOPU and whose wedding I was privileged to be in last July. It’s been a lovely few days hanging out, watching LOTS of Netflix, and tagging along with their normal life stuff. I’ll be in Texas on Wednesday, January 18, and then my new life as a full-time intercessory missionary with The Prayer Room Missions Base will officially begin!

However, this post is mostly not about me. This post is about something EPICLY HUGE that God is doing in the DFW region. The Prayer Room is participating wholeheartedly, but it’s so much bigger than us.

revive_tx_banner2

Time to Revive is a ministry that tours the country mobilising dozens or hundreds of churches in a city to unite and strategically spread the gospel through their whole region. The focus is on awakening the church to pursue revival in their cities.

This spring, from April 16 through June 4, 2017, Time to Revive is launching a 50 day campaign in Dallas-Ft. Worth called Revive Texas. Revive Texas will unite the church (hundreds of churches across many denominations) in an unprecedented way to come together in prayer and go out together to share the gospel. I’m so excited for what this will do for church unity in the region and also for the incredible testimonies we’re about to hear!

Check out this video to find out more about the vision and strategy behind this movement:

The DFW region has been divided into ten smaller regions, each of which will have its own host churches and outreach teams. To my understanding, having ten regions is something Time to Revive has never done before in any other city. We’re basically getting ten revival campaigns for the price of one! I will be in the green area centred around the city of Arlington.

dallas-mapEvery day for 50 days, local believers will come together at host churches for fellowship, prayer, and training, and then will be sent out in small teams to pray for people and share the gospel using a very simple evangelistic model. People are welcome to participate in as much or as little of the schedule as they are able.

  • 7-8am: corporate prayer
  • 8-9am: community breakfast
  • 9-10am: training
  • 10am – 12pm: outreach (go out in teams to pray for local churches)
  • 12-1pm: testimony time (share what God did during the outreach)
  • 1-2pm: community lunch
  • 2-3pm: training
  • 3-5pm: outreach (go out to pray for people and share the Gospel)
  • 5:30pm: community dinner
  • 7-9pm: evening service (teaching, testimonies, worship)

Each of the ten regions will have a prayer hub covering the outreach in prayer with worship for several hours each day. These ten prayer hubs will be existing local houses of prayer that are smaller than The Prayer Room but already have the vision and structure in place to lead the charge in intercession.

On top of these ten smaller prayer hubs, The Prayer Room will serve as a central prayer hub with 24/7 prayer and worship for all 50 days. This is huge for us. We already are doing 18 hours a day, and even outside of Revive Texas we’re just a few steps away from being able to launch a night watch that will make us continually 24/7. Since we already have the vision and structure in place, the extra people and motivational oomph of Revive Texas will enable us to carry the torch 24/7 for these 50 days. Hopefully, some of the people who join us and the other local houses of prayer for this campaign will stick around after June 4, and the entire prayer movement in DFW will be strengthened long-term.

Check out the video below, and also THIS LINK about The Prayer Room’s involvement in Revive Texas:

If you live in the DFW region, you can find out how to get involved at ReviveTX.org.

I am so excited about all God is going to do during Revive Texas. I will keep you all updated as preparations unfold, and I will certainly share testimonies as the campaign gets underway.

In the meantime, here’s how you can pray:

  • Unity, vision, and hunger for revival in DFW churches
  • Wisdom and strength for the leaders
  • Necessary funding and logistics to land
  • Hearts to be prepared, both in believers and the unbelievers we will encounter

And he said to them, “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.”
Luke 10:2

unity-humility-hunger

9 Things I’ve Learned About Partnership Development: Candid Thoughts on Support Raising

caitlyn-lutz-postcard-2016-wo-phone

My partnership postcard!

The past few months, I’ve been spending much of my time sending letters, postcards, and texts, making phone calls, and having meetings with people to share the story of how God called me to full-time prayer ministry at The Prayer Room DFW and the vision of 24/7 prayer. I’ve been inviting people to partner with my financially, since as a missionary I won’t have any kind of outside job. I’ve learned a lot through this process, and I’d like to share some of these insights with you, for the sake of encouragement and understanding.

1. People are excited about 24/7 prayer!

When intercessory missionaries approach partnership development, our primary fear is often that our calling won’t be seen as legitimate. However, to my recollection, every single person I’ve talked to has been enthralled by the concept of night and day prayer and worship. I’ve heard in many meetings, “That’s so beautiful and powerful; I’m so glad there are people doing that.” Hearts come alive to imagine Jesus being exalted without ceasing. This is astounding because even ten years ago, intercession as a missional focus was met with much more skepticism than it is today. God is stirring the hearts of His church to pray and worship as we never have before. This is not a Kansas City thing or any other group’s self-made “thing.” GOD is raising up a praying, singing generation.

2. Relationship trumps money every time.

I’ve never walked away from a meeting feeling like I wasted my time, even if the person didn’t commit to partner with me. My goal is simply to build relationship, share the vision, and extend the invitation. I want us to both walk away encouraged, reenvisioned, and more in love with Jesus. That to me is a WIN.

3. Financial partnership strengthens relationship.

A good friend of mine is raising partnership to embark on a mission trip with The World Race. Early this year, she sent me a letter, invited me to coffee, and shared her heart with me. I gave as I felt led, and since then I’ve enjoyed reading her updates, exchanging letters with her, and praying for her journey– because, in addition to the fact that I love her as a friend, I’m invested now in her ministry. I’m part of what she will go on to do. Spiritually speaking, I receive a portion of her reward. I LOVELOVELOVE it when my friends who are on a tight budget still carve out a little corner of their budget for me, because they have committed to join me in the journey. They’re not necessarily called to vocational ministry in the house of prayer, but they are choosing to be an active, ongoing partner with me in what God is doing. This is why I use the term partner rather than supporter or donor we’re all in this together, and it shows when we stand hand in hand, make our dreams— um, I mean, God strengthens church unity through financial partnership in ministry.

4. Jesus is inviting His church into His story.

I really believe that GOD is the one raising up 24/7 prayer and worship across the globe, that there will be a swelling song of worship arising that will climax in Jesus’ return to the planet. This is HIS story. I believe He wants to invite believers to join Him in that story. It’s nice when old friends support me because they like me, but it’s not about me and my little thing. It’s about the glory of JESUS filling the earth. This is His story. I’m just an ambassador. He’s the one who’s inviting people into it. This takes so much of the pressure off of me to “convince” people to partner. Like Paul said, it’s not about wise and persuasive words, but the Spirit’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5) I’ve spoken to people who have told me that from the moment they first read my letter, they felt the Holy Spirit speaking to them. This is mostly on Jesus, not me.

5. Persistent follow-up is actually appreciated.

I know, it feels weird to leave voicemails and texts for days, but when I’ve finally gotten a hold of those people they’ve been so glad I didn’t give up. These are good people who love Jesus and love me– they’re not mad. They respect what I’m doing and are quite willing to get together when they’re free.

6. Partnership development often becomes ministry.

I frequently end partnership meetings by praying for the person I’m meeting with, especially if they’ve shared a prayer request. I want to keep track of that prayer request and keep lifting it up. I want these people to feel blessed and cared for by talking with me, whether or not God is asking them to partner with me. Partnership is a two way street; I want to bless them as much as they’re blessing me.

7. It’s about faithful stewardship.

This is one of the most freeing things I’ve learned about partnership: Each of us as believers has a stewardship from God. (Matthew 25:14-30) We each have different things He’s entrusted us with — ministry calling, relationships, money, etc. I need to be a faithful steward of my calling to ministry, which includes partnership development. (I wouldn’t be a very faithful servant if I just sat on my butt and waited for a silver parachute full of cash to drop down from the sky!) Similarly, the friends I’m reaching out to have a stewardship of their finances, and part of that includes sowing into the Kingdom. When I ask someone to partner with me, I’m just asking if our stewardships might overlap.

8. God provides unexpectedly.

Sometimes, the person I’ve ruled out as a potential partner will be the very person who will approach ME and ask how to give. Sometimes, the meeting I go into with low expectations will turn into a lengthy heart-to-heart with prayer and monthly partnership on top of that. Sometimes, a friend of a friend will unexpectedly write me a $1000 check. WHAT?? God provides in very unexpected ways. It’s an adventure partnering with Him to knock on every door to testify of His story and discover if He has a partnership waiting there for me.

9. Jesus is worthy of the struggle!

Partnership development isn’t easy. It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and discouraging. But Jesus is worth the battle. He is worthy of 24/7 adoration. He is worthy of me being free to respond fully to His calling without hindrance. He is worthy of the awkwardness. He is worthy of this introvert making dozens of phone calls a week. He is worthy of every hour spent writing postcards, because this is all going towards fulfilling the dream in His heart: “From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.” (Isaiah 24:16)

 

He is faithful. He is a generous Father. Every single time He has called me somewhere, He has provided the means to make it happen. He WILL provide yet again, and He will draw His children into deeper relationship with Himself and each other along the way.

I hope reading this has been encouraging to those who are seeking to develop partnerships for missions and to those who may be called to partner with a missionary. Nearly everything I know about partnership development comes from an IHOPU class taught by Rob Parker, and his book, “The Fully Funded Missionary“. Check him out at PartnershipDevelopment.org. If you’d like to hear more about my story and the vision for 24/7 prayer, feel free to email me at caitlyn.r.lutz@gmail.com or check out the My Story and Partner With Me pages on this blog.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Revelation Study/Getaway Weekend!

Bible, beach, babes.

This past weekend, I attended a mini women’s retreat with a few ladies from my church. We went to a friend’s condo in Oceanside, CA, and spent the weekend walking on the beach, talking, praying, and studying the Bible together. It was a truly special and memorable weekend!

I was asked to prepare a few teachings on the book of Revelation, and so was another woman, named Lynn. Revelation probably isn’t the topic I would have chosen for a women’s retreat (I mean, isn’t Song of Solomon and Proverbs 31 more typical fare for these kinds of things? I’ve actually never been to a women’s retreat before.) but these ladies were really hungry to know what the Word says about this crucial area of understanding– the end times and the return of Jesus.

I admit to being nervous about the teaching. Lynn planned to also teach on Revelation, but from the opposite eschatological perspective. Whereas I believe that the events of Revelation are still to come (the futurist/historical premillennialist view), she believes that most of the events were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (the partial preterist/amillennialist view). I really wasn’t sure what form those discussions would take, and even though I’ve studied several different eschatological views, I was really nervous about being able to represent my beliefs well in this kind of situation.

As it turned out, everything went very smoothly. I was amazed at the unity and fellowship that God brought. Several of the ladies got deeply touched by the Father, and we all felt very encouraged. I came to love and respect Lynn very much; she is extremely kind, wise, and hungry for God and His truth. Her wisdom as we candidly discussed different life situations and world issues was invaluable. She has spent years studying Revelation, sometimes for 10-15 hours each week, while being a wife and homeschooling mom. I was deeply provoked by her determination to search out truth for herself, as well as the way she prioritised relationship over debating. That’s a woman who loves Jesus and loves people very well indeed!

I also noticed several themes that we both shared as we were teaching:

  1. Revelation is meant to be understood by all believers, not only the theologically elite.
  2. Revelation becomes clear as we let Scripture interpret Scripture.
  3. Revelation is the revelation OF JESUS CHRIST (Rev. 1:1) – it’s the story of His heart.
  4. Revelation isn’t meant to be fearful- it’s a story of hope and courage for the Church.
  5. Revelation is at its core the story of a jealous God of love, not an angry, trigger-happy God of smitage*.
  6. Revelation sees the Church come into full maturity as the Bride finally looks like Jesus.
  7. Revelation ends with God’s Kingdom being fully established and His Bride being with Him forever.

I also had volunteered to lead worship (I brought my little keyboard and set it up on the kitchen table), and it was such a privilege to glorify the Lord through song with these ladies and invite the Holy Spirit into our midst. God brought a supernatural unity as we fellowshipped, studied, worshipped, and prayed.

Here are the notes from my Revelation teachings this weekend. I’m also adding the timelines from IHOPKC that I used and gave the ladies with the session 1 notes. Many more study resources can be found at MikeBickle.org and IHOPKC.org.

Session 1 – Themes and Structure
Session 2 – Bridegroom, King, and Judge
Session 3 – Jesus’ Second Coming
IHOPKC Revelation timeline

screenshot_2016-09-13-20-43-01-1

*Don’t go looking for that word in any theological dictionary. You won’t find it.

Bringing Kids Into God’s Story

My big summer adventure of teaching at the Christian school at the church I grew up in is at a close. Friday was the last day of my seven weeks staffing summer day camp. I taught 1st-3rd grade Bible Monday and Friday mornings, and in the afternoon was a group leader for 1st grade for the first half of the summer and 3rd grade for the second half. On Wednesdays we did all-day field trips to places like the beach, Knott’s Berry Farm (it’s an amusement park much more than an actual farm), and the Natural History Museum in LA.

When I was asked to take this teaching position just a few weeks before camp began, I was pretty nervous about it. I’ve never worked with kids this young before. I learned a lot about God using me in my weakness. Even when I prepared my lessons at 11:00pm the night before and felt I had just my little loaves and fishes to bring, every time God multiplied it into something that actually kept the kids’ attention and touched their hearts.

13412223_10153864006488768_7727638894224221844_o (1)

I got to design my own bulletin board!

My favourite part of the summer was teaching my kids the Bible. The camp was going through the Cave Quest VBS curriculum, and so I talked about how Jesus gives us hope, courage, direction, love, and power. I was given one page of thematic material and a memory verse for each week (crafts/games not included), which I had to stretch into two lessons. I had a lot of fun coming up with crafts, games, and dances to make the themes and verses memorable, and along the way I got to get my preach on and see kids’ faces light up as Truth hit their hearts! During “hope” week, I got very excited talking about how our ultimate hope is that Jesus will one day come back and “His feet will stand” on the earth, (Zechariah 14:4) and He will make all the wrong things right. Some of my kids had never heard that before. Hearing one of my 3rd graders pray “Thank You that Your feet will stand on the earth” absolutely melted my heart.

20160613_101732

Week 2 – Jesus gives us courage! I made a boat out of chairs, the Sea of Galilee out of sheets, and drew a storm on the whiteboard to act out the story of Peter and Jesus walking on water. The kids really seemed to get the concept of how Jesus gives us courage when we keep our eyes on Him.

20160624_082521 2

Week 3 – Jesus gives us direction! I had a lot of fun teaching them about how compasses work and how we need to align the symbols with the needle, just like we need to align our lives with God’s Word.

For our “love” lesson in week 4, we talked about how Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. I showed them the crucifixion and resurrection scenes from the kids’ version of the JESUS film, and made a cardboard cross for the front of the room. I planned to tack pieces of paper with sins written on them to the cross, but in what must have been a Holy Spirit idea I first tacked them to my own shirt, then transferred them to the cross. Weeks later, the kids were still talking about how I used tacks to put the sins on myself “just like the nails on the cross!” Haha, not quite, but at least it made an impact.

13710587_10153961104478768_719132107815200841_o

Week 7 – Royal Celebration. We made wordless gospel books to tell the story of our adoption into God’s royal family.

Our summer concluded with a “Royal Celebration” inspired by the Narnian crowning of the Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. We invited the kids to surrender the lives to Jesus, and then we offered them the chance to be crowned and baptised. That was a special week indeed! With children’s ministry, it’s kind of hard to say how many souls actually came into the kingdom during camp, but I believe the experience made an impact on them, even if the full force of it doesn’t hit them for a while.

Jesus is after the hearts of these kids. They’re not too young to experience the love of the Father and the wonder of His plan. One girl told me, “I didn’t know about God before I came here.” Another boy was so fascinated by my Bible that he begged me to let him keep it. Some of my biggest challenge kids were also my most affectionate, because they began to believe they were loved even during discipline. These kids are hungry for something real. As a camp staff, we had the opportunity to love them and plant what seeds we could, and watch God move in tiny little hearts.

The Power of Coffee and Awkward Conversations

coffee and awkward

I really didn’t want to talk to her about this.

I had already made small efforts to smooth things over, but I still hadn’t just sat down, looked her in the eye, and said what I needed to say.

We used to be quite close, but enough had changed that I didn’t know what to expect. The truth is, I was afraid. I was afraid of awkwardness, of saying it wrong, of not hearing the response I wanted to hear… of being hurt again.

It took strong prompting from people whose wisdom I trust to get me to ask her to coffee. We went to a local cafe, I bought her a latte, we made very friendly small talk that felt like old times… then I took a deep breath and carefully broached the subject.

Over the next hour, we talked, listened, shared our hearts, laughed, affirmed and encouraged each other, and hugged. By the time I walked out of that coffee shop, my heart felt a thousand times lighter. I drove away enthusiastically gushing to God, “Yes!! This is what it’s supposed to be like! Thank You for unity, humility, and RECONCILIATION in Your people!”

This will probably shock people who grew up with me, but I can honestly say that at this point in my life, I am a huge fan of awkward conversations. Preferably over coffee.*

I think this is because I hate division. I really, really, really hate division. I hate when people who ought to be showing the love of Christ to each other can’t bring themselves to just lay the awkwardness on the table and deal with it. I hate it when someone I really do like and respect can’t bring him- or herself to make things right with me. Some things are better left unsaid, but many times, unspoken words fester like a wound that won’t heal.

I’ve actually been on the receiving end of these “awkward conversations” toward reconciliation more often than I have initiated them, and I can tell you, I’ve always walked away with more respect for the other person and feeling like a wall had been broken down. Every time, when the conversation is approached with love, tenderness, honesty, and humility, I know God is rejoicing with us.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God… So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:9, 23-24

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.”
Colossians 3:12-15

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Romans 12:18

We’re a family. We’re one body in Christ. We have no right to let unspoken words build up walls between us. Love and unity is our mandate, and I’m determined to fight for it – Every. Single. Time.

So if you need to initiate an “awkward conversation” with someone, here’s my advice:

  1. PRAY. Get God’s heart for the situation. Ask Him for love to abound (Philippians 1:9).
  2. If you can without breaking anyone’s confidence, talk to someone you know will give you wise counsel and pray with you before the conversation takes place.
  3. If at all possible, ask if you can take them out for coffee (or tea, or fro-yo, or whatever). Avoid the “business meeting” feeling. Let them know that you value spending time with them.
  4. Don’t launch right in. Chat, ask questions, show interest in their life and heart outside of this one issue. This is part of loving and honouring them well.
  5. Share your feelings as simply, honestly, and tenderly as possible. Ask forgiveness in any area you can think of.
  6. Embrace the awkwardness. Laugh about it! They’re probably as uncomfortable as you are. Acknowledging it robs it of its power.
  7. Ask questions and listen. Let them say whatever they want. The goal is mutual understanding for the sake of unity.
  8. Encourage the other person! Tell them what you love about them. Affirm what you see God doing in their life.
  9. Don’t be paranoid about saying everything exactly right. The point is to expose what’s been hiding. It’s okay if it’s a messy process.
  10. GO LOW. Humility is your best friend. Humility will win the war when every other weapon fails.

It’s amazing how much healing can come from a cup of coffee and open communication soaked in love, humility, and honour.

So go forth and be boldly awkward for the sake of unity, my friends!

.
*I love the cultural phenomenon that is “going out for coffee” together with someone, but I’m actually not a huge coffee person, so if you ask me out for coffee, I’m probably going to just drink tea.

My California Summer Begins

I’m home!! I arrived in California on Monday, May 23, and have really been enjoying finding a new summer rhythm of family, friends, church, creative stuff, Netflix (who am I kidding?) and work.

Yep, that’s right! I got a job! Two jobs, actually. First, I’m working at my church’s Christian school’s summer day camp as a 1st-3rd grade Bible teacher and 1st grade group leader. Second, I’ll be working at Bed Bath and Beyond in the fine china and bridal department. I worked for two years at a BBB in Kansas City, and I’m so excited to get to work at my local store. (On a related note, or maybe purely for your entertainment, here’s a Buzzfeed list of 56 Thoughts Everyone Has While Shopping At Bed Bath And Beyond. And yes, I could totally answer all of those questions.) Thus far, I’ve had some training for both jobs, but haven’t actually worked a full shift yet.

I’ve also gone out to breakfast with my brother, watched the new X-Men movie with my dad, went shopping with my mom, and attended my childhood best friend’s daughter’s first birthday party (at which I got to see a number of old friends!). It’s a blessing to spend this time at home with family.

california sign

#caligirlforever

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!

van

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.

Slack for iOS Upload (9)

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!

13131036_1049992681714728_4164065700110469985_o

Encouraging the AMP core team at their small group.

Slack for iOS Upload (2)

Scavenger hunt on campus.

Slack for iOS Upload (5)

Team hangout at CSHOP director Cynthia’s house!

EGS 2

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

Previous Older Entries