Move over adults… Youth are taking over the church.

We are in awe of ALL God did at our Fruit of the Roots youth event last weekend!! Youth from Vineyard churches all over Oregon and Vancouver, gathered at our church to worship and seek God together. They connected with one another, old friends and new, deepening community. They had loads of fun, ran around like loons, drank liters of gatorade and ate tons of food… And they worshipped. They prayed. And they served.

14632995_10209415621959831_7959977692268331892_n.jpg14563503_10209415622759851_4927127021873221540_n.jpg

Together the youth made care packages for the Police officers in our community, they gave Hope packs out to people at the hospital and prayed in the emergency room, they made shoes for children in Africa suffering from jiggers thru the ministry Sole Hope, they made meals and gave them to our homeless community, and they prayed for and gave money to various people God led them to.

Personally for our family, God met us with His kindness and faithfulness. Here are a few stories… Selah (6yo) prayed after hearing testimony of eyes being healed on Saturday… “God You are the only God, the One True God. You are the Healer, not the sicker, You are the Healer.” I loved how she prayed “not the sicker”  🙂 The Truth of who God is has been sealed upon her heart. Salem (10 yo) was battling some discouragement when we came to the church. I asked him to come and listen to the service Saturday night, as testimonies were being shared from outreaches the youth participated in on Saturday afternoon. As he listened to the testimonies, he was reminded of the Truth of Who GOD IS. Immediately, the discouragement lifted and he returned to his joyful silly self! This year was Soleil’s (12yo) first time to participate in Fruit of the Roots as part of the youth group. She has been sharing stories of her outreach group going out into the community and serving people God led them to with us all week. She is growing with a burning passion for Jesus that is evident in her joy and Worship!!

Sunday morning, we had an overflow of joy in worship as our church community gathered for our service. There was freedom to dance and shout as we all proclaimed “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a Child of God!” Across all of the generations represented in our church, from babies to 80 years young, we proclaimed and sang out “We are the Children of God! We know Whose we are, we are the Children of God!” After the worship time, Adam called for prayer over those in need of healing, addiction and for an increase of Joy. He asked the youth to pray and God moved powerfully over those who responded. We sang again “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God”. This time, I asked one of our 8th graders to lead out on the song … hesitantly she started singing (since I put her on the spot!) but WOW, God gave her courage and she sang boldly and beautifully as He used her to lead us!

11061286_807295242657368_7529929219891108009_n.jpg

Sunday evening, we had our Harvest Party. Families from the church and community gathered and our little building was filled with everyone enjoying LOTS of candy, chili, games and FUN!!!

Unknown-4.jpegUnknown-3.jpegUnknown-2.jpegUnknown-1.jpegUnknown.jpegUnknown-5.jpegUnknown-8.jpegUnknown-7.jpegUnknown-6.jpeg

Adults, be aware – THIS is what happens when young people are in the church. And it is GOOD!  Thanks for reading… our story continues… In Him, LRB

Advertisements

Worship and Worry ~ A Tale of Two Sisters

Worship and Worry ~ A Tale of Two Sisters. Luke chapter 10:38-42  ~ The tale of Mary and Martha. One sister, Martha invited Jesus to her house. Yet, she is worried, distracted by many things.  Frustrated she has no help getting the meal ready, angry her sister Mary is doing ‘nothing’… Yet she is doing something… she is doing the one thing that matters. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His teaching.

If I could walk in the sandals of these two women, I can see myself in both of them. I am not easily caught up in housework and fuss. I can easily let go of the daily tasks, to-do-lists and leave the house-mess. But. I am still easily caught up in the net of worry. I am distracted by many things. I might not be actively avoiding tasks for the sake of time with Jesus, but I am actively accomplishing much worry.

I am sitting at the feet of Jesus, yet immersed in worry while I’m there. I am actively sitting at His feet, but worry is looming while my soul is longing to be engaged. I am distracted by the many things I am not accomplishing while I am longing to hear the heartbeat of Jesus. This is not where Jesus wants me to be.

“It’s impossible to worship and to worry at the same time.”

I sang this phrase in worship over our church a while ago. This Truth saturated the room thru a lyric He stirred in my heart. I can not be fully in the presence of God, in worship, and worry at the same time. I must choose. 

I know the truth of both Mary and Martha. I have experienced both. I have been overcome by His presence, fully engaged in worship while doing the dishes and cleaning toilets. And I been embraced by His arms, settled in His love, simply Being with Him and doing nothing else. 

13043783_10154154564387430_4982852384633802288_n

Today I was given a gift of opportunity. I went running. walking. strutting… whatever you want to call it… huffing and puffing… I slow down. I see. She’s standing there. Beside her car, cigarette in one hand. Leaning back against the passenger door. I hear three words: Abused, hungry, rejected. “Hi” I greet her. She responds with a “hello” as well. This was a moment. God was opening a door to show His love to her. But I walk on…  I’m in a hurry. I am distracted by many things. I need to finish my run, walk, putter… I only have a set amount of time before I must be home. Before I need to pick up the kids from school. Pay the bills. Finish the chores… my mind is spinning.

I keep walking, 1 minute passes, maybe even less. Damn you, Time! And the lie I believe there is a lack of it. I turn around. Screw time restraints. Forget the rest of my putter… I stop. I turn back. I missed it! She’s gone. She’s driving away.

I won’t miss this gift again. I long to be in a routine of worship. I wrongly believed I was. It changed oh so subtly. I have been in a routine of worry. In worry I miss worship. In worry I miss Jesus. In worry I miss the gift to show His love. In worry I miss His presence. In one minute I missed her. 

God still loves me. This is not a beat myself over the head, I suck at following Jesus moment to bemoan and drive me into despair. This is a moment to listen. To learn. To sit at the feet of Jesus. In worship there is never a lack of time. In His presence, He fuels all that we need. In distraction and worry, everything can be stolen. This is a moment of repentance, humility and growth. I am learning ~ I never want to miss the One Thing again.

This is a moment to share. If this encourages you, pass it on! I am thankful for your reading.

In Him, Leslie

O Taste and See that the Lord is good {dispelling depression during the holidays}

Those moments come… and you hope they go. You hope they flee more quickly than they settled over your head, your heart, your soul. The darkness creeps in again and you find yourself lost inside your own thoughts… and numb. When in a season, meant to be \\Full\\ of \\Thanks\\ you find yourself struggling to be Thankful… You know it is not the TRUTH. You know the TRUTH will set you FREE but the lies have a hold and the desire to BE set FREE seems too far out of reach so you turn numb.

When His whisper sweeps over you softly and says ~ Speak up. Speak out. Speak Truth. Speak MY Name. The darkness will flee. MY light will overcome it.

Freedom comes, but with a price. What were meant to be Joy-Filled Memories are overshadowed by the lies that settled in. Regret becomes your default reaction. The JOY you have is being assaulted by a familiar enemy. Feelings of frustration, anger, disappointment and sorrow swell until your Truth is distorted, and the pattern repeats.

IMG_007412105893_10153682650947430_8982390427548137261_ncropped-img_20150218_162310.jpgcropped-img_20150222_011207.jpg

 

This sounds depressing and it is. I have been here before. Depression had come to my door, let itself in, and settled down for a visit. At my table. In my heart. More times than I would like to admit. No one wants to be depressed during the season of Thanks, but there are some who are. There are some, like me. We know Truth. We know who He is. We know what we carry, and we fight. We fight for freedom. And we win, but not without a battle. Not without a cry. Not without a cost. Not without a sacrifice.

The way I see it the lies we believe are tailored to who (we know) we are. They are fiery darts, custom made to attack our very core and distort the Truth of our identity… You’re not good enough… You’ll never have enough time… You’ll never feel healthy again… Here you go again – feeling down for no real reason… What do you have to be depressed about anyway?

I see the faces set before me, the JOY set before me. My family, my friends, my Savior. Countless reasons to GIVE THANKS, Yet for a time it will not shake. But I will not be silent. When I speak HIS name, darkness flees. Freedom Comes. Truth remains. Forgiveness settles in.

The greatest threat to depression is a VOICE. When you speak out, it is no longer hidden. The light overwhelms the darkness. Peace overwhelms my soul. Our greatest weapon (to protect our souls) is our WORSHIP.  When I worship. When I sing. Psalm 30:11-12 “…You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

Joy has come and dispelled the depression once again. I have tasted and seen the Lords goodness. I have tasted and seen His love, His freedom, His peace, His forgiveness. I am grateful I can indulge in who He is this season. His love is better than any Thanksgiving Feast. Even better than the green bean casserole and apple crisp 🙂

Have you struggled with depression? Does it seem to settle in at your table during the Holidays? You are not alone and I would love to hear from you! Please share and know YOU ARE LOVED! In Him, Leslie

I See You

IMG_20150222_011207

The world around me swirls and I am caught up in the motion. So many people in need. Abandoned. Alone. At risk. So many people enslaved. They need help. They need rescue. They need freedom. They need me. What can I do but pray? I can pray.

But what else? There must be more. There is more.

I am available. USE ME. I want to break down walls. But now I only see the walls. I see too much. It becomes too much. I can not see it all. It becomes a blur. I am burdened. I am sad. In the recesses of my heart are cries too deep for words.

I am still.

He speaks.

I listen.

I ask.

Do you see them, God? DO YOU? Why not rescue? Why not freedom? Why not deliverance?

In a moment, in worship… He whispers… I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM.

This same evening, I read with my daughter Exodus 3. Moses is drawn to the bush.  Believing he was unseen. NO. He was not unseen. I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM.

I feel like Moses. I can not compare to Moses. But I feel what he might have felt. He saw his people enslaved. He wanted to see justice. He wanted to break down walls. He took the judgement into his own hands. He killed. Afraid, he ran. To a desert hiding place. Yet found again, embraced by a father. He tends his father in laws flock. I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM. He is found again. He can not hide.

I have heard the cries of the people. My brothers and sisters across the earth in need of deliverance. I want to scream at every injustice. I want to obliterate the evil in this world. Yet He calls me to SEE as HE SEES. He calls me to see the wounded and the one who wounds. He calls me to see the abused and the abuser. He calls me to see the broken and the one who breaks. He calls me to see the prisoner and the guard. When the walls come down, they are ALL in need of freedom and deliverance.

He beckons me to know His voice and TRUST. 

I am doing what I see my Father doing. I am shepherding. I am caring for a flock. Yet I am drawn to the bush. The bush which never ceases to burn. My heart groans as the bush burns. The Spirit intercedes. He gently shows me…

I need to TRUST.

I heard the Lord speak in the whisper, in the moment of worship – I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM. My heart responds – I KNOW. I WILL TRUST.

God speaks. I see the affliction of My people… I have heard their cry… I know their sufferings… I have come to deliver them.

Sin abounds. All hell has broken loose on the earth. Hopelessness is center stage. Are we forgotten? Maybe you have felt? Maybe you have asked? But NO. We are not forgotten. HE SEES US. HE SEES THEM.

Rescue is coming for ALL. I know it. I will tend my flock as Moses did. Until the time comes when God says GO.

What is your spirit groaning for? Share and let me know ~ In Him, Leslie

Singing my least favorite Worship Song

God's Sandbox

This Sunday, we sang my least favorite worship song in church. I wasn’t leading the worship set, so I didn’t choose the song. In fact, my husband –the Pastor– chose the song. He acts like he runs the church or something. He gets to do that ‘choosing songs’  thing every now and then, since he’s the Pastor and all. 😉

When Adam told me he had asked Dean to include this song in the set, I rolled my eyes. Adam smiled at me, “I know you don’t care for this song very much, but it fits really well with our ‘Serve Sunday’ service.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this worship song. It glorifies God. It sings of His Truth. It has a nice melody and sound… but it has always been one of my least favorite worship songs. I would still engage in worship when we sang it, but I would only choose this song if Adam asked me to add it into a set.

So, I’m a worship leader who doesn’t like a worship song? …Shouldn’t I like all worship songs? …Shouldn’t I be able to lead any worship song, if it speaks truth and brings glory to God? …Shouldn’t I be able to worship without an attitude, regardless of the song we’re singing? Yes. I should.

But I’m weird. I know. So I pick and choose preferred worship songs. I would guess, most worship leaders do.

And then Dean asked me to lead the chorus of the song.

WHAT?! I think God was laughing at me….. 😉

But God… He’s so funny.

When we began the worship set, my heart changed. As we entered into “God of this City”, the Holy Spirit breathed new life on this song for me. I cried in response to His mercy and kindness. I looked into the congregation and my eight year old son was worshipping, hands raised, fully engaged. My heart swelled with joy. As we left church, Salem exclaimed, “I loved that song we sang, Mom!”

Since Sunday, I have cried every time I have heard this song. God changed my heart and now, this is one of my favorite worship songs. He is God of this City and Greater things have yet to come!

Do you have a difficult time worshipping to certain songs? What worship songs do you prefer? Have you ever experienced a change in your worship song preferences? Please share your experiences… our stories are only half written… In Him, Leslie