A WORKSHOP IN SOCAL
One week ago today I was sitting around a table in a room full of tables surrounded by 120 women teachers and preachers. We came from across the country/world to sit under the incomparable Christine Caine. We came to glean as much wisdom and instruction from her—pertaining to our exact callings into Bible teaching and preaching—as we possibly could.
I boarded the plane to SoCal so excited and expectant for what God had planned for my time there. I was literally bursting with glee to be able to attend this intensive workshop as well as the subsequent and intimate (and crazy powerful) “Day of Ministry for Women in Ministry” conference that took place the following day. This said, I was also highly aware of the personal cost to attend these events. The cost was more than just dollars. Though it was not inexpensive to get there, stay, and attend these events. On top of monetary costs, I was also leaving my family during one of the busiest weeks for us. I missed 2 of my sons’ basketball games, a basketball practice, as well as my middle child’s only music program of the year. I missed my nephew’s birthday party, and I missed being there to drive the kids to a church program on Wed night. Furthermore, my husband stayed home from work one day, and went in late and came home early 2 days in my absence. On top of these things, I was leaving my normal schedule behind. I’ve been in the middle of some intense ongoing Biblical research for the curriculum I’ve been writing, and my heart and mind have a hard time disconnecting from it to do anything else right now. One of my prayers leading up to this trip was that every single cost to attend these events would be compensated for by way of wisdom gained, connections made, growth of faith in my God, and more…
And let me tell you. Three hours into the first day, I sat in my chair barely able to contain myself. I was OVERWHELMED with the power and presence of God unveiled and poured out in that space, and through the life and voice of just one His precious vessels (Christine Caine). I said to the Lord, “If I went home right now, these three hours alone were worth every single cost! Thank you so much Lord, for orchestrating everything to bring me to this place and time…” And you guys, this was still just the beginning.
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS…
It’s hard to capture, in one post, the world-class nature of these events in SoCal. It’s hard to communicate how deeply they impacted me. It’s hard to communicate the literal and numerous miracles that took place one after another in that place. It’s hard to find words to express the astounding presence and power of God that could be tangibly felt by all who attended. It was such a sacred and life-altering time that I know I will never be the same as I was before these events. A significant shift took place in my life and ministry down there, and I suspect most of the women who attended would say the same thing. The time was so holy, so profound, that my instinct is to do like Mary did at the birth and circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus, and “treasure up these things” in my heart. I want to hold them and hide them inside of me forever.
In some sense, what happened down there is my secret shared with God alone. Yet, i know today, He wants me to testify publicly of His power and wisdom I experienced down there. And today He wants you to know that these things are for your life as well.They’re not just for me or us teacher and preacher chicks who met up in SoCal to be educated and ministered to. They’re for all of us!
GOD WRITES INCREDIBLE STORIES
Friends, God writes incredible stories for our lives. Every single one of us has Heaven-plans ordained for our lives that are higher and better than our earthly minds can comprehend! Everyone of us has a grand story intended for our lives, for the benefit of this world, and for the glory of God that we alone can fulfill (through the power of His Spirit in us). Christian, your purpose, your design, your planting is far more intentional that you know. And it’s far higher and greater than you can imagine! We as the Church, are a living organism, not an organization. We the Church, are the very body of the living Christ (our Head) on planet earth. His life and ministry work in the world did not end at his death, resurrection, and ascension. No, it was still only beginning. It continues on through His people scattered throughout the world! As new creatures in Christ, we have access to the mind and power of God, now on Earth.
MY DREAM FOR THE CHURCH
I have a dream to see the Church at large, across the globe, wake from her sleep! Not simply to get about doing good works, but to see her functioning from Christ Himself, heralding the GOOD NEWS of Jesus to the ends of the world, and seeing masses of people saved, set free, and empowered to herald the GOOD NEWS of Jesus yet further around the globe! To see her walking by profound faith, trust, and interdependence on the Spirit within Her. I dream of seeing her mature and grow up past denominationalism, sectarianism, dogmatism, theological division, theological academia, earthly powers, deceit, pretension, and fear. I believe we have humanized (flesh-ized) Christianity. We’ve diminished Biblical study and research into man-made academic systems that have little need for the Spirit of God to illuminate and unveil them, and which often altogether miss the high and true meaning God intends in them. We’ve lost sight of the super-natural aspect of what it means to be Christian.
If you’re a Christian, you are not of this world. What this world is limited by, is no limit for you. What the world is enslaved to, has no enslaving power over you. What the world fears, has no fearful presence in your life… If you walk in all that is yours in Christ.
THE GOOD NEWS + MY UBER DRIVER
When I was in SoCal, I traveled around the area utilizing Uber. One of my Uber drivers used the phrase “Thank God” at a couple points in our conversation. So about 2 minutes from my destination I asked him if his thanking God meant that he was a Christian. He told me no, he did not believe in Jesus, nor anything “extra” from any other religion. He said “I believe in God only, and I try to do my best, so that one day He’ll let me into Heaven.” From here, God took over. I don’t know how, in such a short time, I could explain what I did in a way that would resonate with his heart… except for God Himself giving me the ability.
I said to him, “Can I explain to you what I understand about Jesus and why we need Him, in addition to God the Father?”
“Yes, please do!” he said.
“Have you heard of Adam and Eve?”
“When Adam and Eve were deceived into sinning, what entered them (sin), entered all humanity… because we were all in Adam… because he was the first of the human race. In other words, when slavery to darkness entered the flesh of Adam, it entered our bodies as well. And that’s what the problem was and why Jesus was necessary.” I said, “God loved us so much, this was not ok to Him. It wasn’t about God being mad at us. It was about God rescuing us from darkness, and transferring us to His glorious Light…” I continued, “So a new ‘Adam’ was needed. Jesus came explicitly to break the slavery-curse over our bodies and become a new Head—a First—of a new order of humans. His death on the cross and burial in the grave was about breaking the prison-vessel of slavery along with it’s curse. When He rose from the dead He had become a second Adam. A new Head of a new order of humans. As the freed, glorified Head, those who come from Him have what He has! And if you believe in Jesus, that God sent Him to accomplish all this for you, you will be saved! Not just for a good after-life, but for a free life now as well!”
I can’t tell you that these were my exact words. I can’t remember exactly what God put into my mouth for him. But I can tell you this was the gist of it, and that my driver was stunned and speechless. THIS good news resonated deeply with him. All he could utter as we pulled up was, “Please pray for me! Please pray for me!”
A NEW ORDER OF HUMANITY = PROFOUND IMPLICATIONS
My point in sharing this story is simply this: Christian, you’ve believed in Jesus. This has so much more implication for you than simply where your “after-life” will be spent. You are of a new order of humans. You are connected to a “Head” that is utterly free from darkness, utterly powerful, utterly wise, and utterly good. The Holy Spirit in you is yours to access and live from. Not simply to wonder about, not simply to have lie dormant within you, not simply to be afraid of how He might manifest in you. He is part of your eternal inheritance as a child of God. Because of Him, you have a different purpose for living. Because of His presence in you, you have a different source to live from. Because of Him you have access to the spiritual riches of Heaven. Because of Him you are equipped to do far more than your human mind can fathom. Because of Him you are supernaturally gifted. Because of Him you can know the very thoughts of God for your every day life. Because of Him, you can live free from fear, condemnation, guilt, shame, and all manner of sin. Because of Him in you, you can be a profound instrument of change in this world! Because of Him your life is about so much more than you! You friend, have a call on your life. You are not overlooked nor forgotten. You have everything you could possibly need to fulfill what God created you for!
My time down in SoCal was monumentally altering. Before going, my eyes had already witnessed more of God—both in my life, and on the pages of Scripture—than I could have ever fathomed possible. There is no human explanation for what He’d already been doing and unveiling before I headed south. But then He, in His infinite kindness, ushered me onto a new plane of life and ministry, because a few mighty women-warriors of God followed, by faith, His leading to teach, pray, serve, pour into, encourage, and enrich some of those coming up behind them. In fact, I’m convinced I still haven’t witnessed all God did and is going to do because of this one event. I look forward in great expectation and faith. Our God is faithful, you guys!
ACCESS TO SO. MUCH. MORE.
Friends, our purpose on planet earth is so much greater than our flesh tells us it is. Our potential on planet earth, because of God in us, is infinitely higher than our flesh can accomplish or perceive. We are a spiritual race, living in a physical world. And we have access to so much more than our eyes can see, our ears hear, and our hearts can fathom.
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
SEEK. HIM. MORE.
If my witness here today—of the power and life we have access to in Christ—is stirring some deep desire in you today… Friend, seek Him anew. Don’t settle for less than is fully yours in Christ! Don’t believe the lie of contentment and doubt! He’s real. He’s living. He’s active in His people here on earth today! And He can be all this and more in you as well! You have access to know and love the King of Kings in ways you cannot yet fathom. His love is wild and deep! And you don’t want to miss Him or miss His life and work in and through you! This is the life that has eternal significance. That will not fade away on that Day, but will stand forever! Seek Him! Pray. Read. Study. Ask questions. Find a Church where the Living God is present and His Word is loved and taught! Find others who are chasing God at greater heights than you are, and surround yourselves by them. Learn from them! Their friendships and the challenges they present to your life will encourage you to the higher places they are living from! And begin to trust Him, in everything and in every way.
There is no loss so great as that of missing out on the fullness of Him!
8 Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant – dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ 9 and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ – God’s righteousness. 10 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. 11 If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. 12 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. 13 Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. 14 I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 15 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! 16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. 17 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. 18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. 19 But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. 20 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. (Phil. 3:8-21, The Message)
All my love to you!
P.S. In the photo collage above you see 1) Some of the women (including several new friends) who attended the Preacher/Teacher Workshop (photo from Propel Women), 2) Chris Caine, Joanne Ramos, and Alex Seely, 3) me after I attempted surfing on the last day (how could I not include this?), 4) Chris teaching on day 1, 5) Joanne, Alex, Chris, and our worship leader Michelle Lutz (photo not by me), and 6) Christine teaching us on day 2.