Tuesday, 6 September 2011

New Blog

Hey, y'all, just letting you know that I've started a new blog. It's all about the stuff that God and I do together here in Canada! :)


Here's the link to my first blog post on that blog: Back in Canada, and God's Still Here!

And here's a link to my new plain ol blog!: Dancing with Love - my life with God

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

I'm Back In Canada!

Yes, t'is true... I've got some awesome pics to show y'all! Sorry I'm late at getting this posted (I actually got here on Aug 7th), but just to update you all, that I'm back in my hometown now.  Who knows how long, and what for, but I'm here.  God still has interesting and unheard of plans for me, I know that.  And I will definitely NEVER be the same! And I'll never forget the people, and the valuable things that I've learned while in KC!



Lindsay, Meghan, and Me!

Tommy, Khrystal, Tre, and Rosalind

Beca watching some kids

Tommy and Morgan... hilarious...

Rosalind, Khrystal, and Ben at one of our chill times with God!

Neighbours, Birdy and G'Tavius with Khrystal!


Neighbours, Birdy, and G'Tavius with me.

Kyleisha, sister to Birdy and G'Tavius, with Rosalind.

Claudia, George, and Kyleisha - awesome family.

Birdy holding Baba and Angel. Birdy and I would take them out while I babysat them.

Me, Baba and Angel SWIMMING! When I took them the first few times, they were quite scared of the water, later, they began to LOVE it!





I'm definitely missing all the people in KC!!!  :( :(  Thinking back on it right now, I don't think I ever knew how much I could learn from other people, just by living, really living with them!!  I learned *SO* much, I'm still realizing the things I've learned here and there, even NOW! 


In the KC Internship (with Student Church, the Boiler Room and Lindsay and Myles, and Erik Fish), we interns and leaders all agreed that this internship/summer was called ‘The Summer of Love’.  That phrase really took root as something that entitles all of what God did in that summer.  We had a discussion on this once, and we all explained on how it was a summer of love for each of us, and we all had very different expressions of how it was a summer of love for us.  Some of what we said overlapped, but everyone had completely different things to say. That in itself is interesting, because it shows that God’s Love is really big, and goes to every part of us, and comes to us at any point in our lives.  That was really obvious! Cause we were all at different parts of our lives!!  Some of us were at similar spots, ie; we were seeking God as to what He has for us reaching our campus, and starting that anew. But still, we were all on different places in our lives.  It's hard to explain what I mean by that, but I hope you understand.

So it was a Summer of Love.  An overview of what that looks like: Lots of time spent on just soaking in the presence of God. 

Who: With just us interns, with the neighbours, with a whole bunch of people, at a 'Benjamin Dunn and Friends' concert, at IHOP ('International House of Prayer' rooms), and in solitude by ourselves.

What: The Love of God is intense y'all! It comes and overflows and fills you up, yo! You gotta feel it to know it. To quote a whole pile of people who agree: It's "better than any drug" - Family Force 5, 'Love Addict', Switchfoot, 'Mess of Me' and Benjamin Dunn, 'You Are Better' and to say it myself, t'is better than anything I've ever known.

How: We did this by having times of quiet, no talking, and just listening to God, and chilling with Him (together with people or not), playing our own music, listening to music, rocking out to music, dancing and jumping.

Where & When: ANYWHERE and ANYTIME - that it's appropriate, that is.


Benjamin Dunn concert at the Boiler Room, KC
Benjamin Dunn (in striped shirt) and friends - they came out to the middle of the room, involving us all, they totally jammed out with just a few instruments.


Below: Benjamin Dunn and Friends 'Melody of Salvation', and a video explaining their music. 


Sunday, 31 July 2011

Street Worship


It's been a while, but tonight I just got major inspiration to share what happened just tonight, and the context behind it.

So about 4 or 5 weeks ago, we had a meeting with these two women who work with/for an organization called 'Exodus Cry', where they reach out to prostitutes in our area. So we had them come here to our house and share some of their story, and give us guidelines and wisdom as to how to reach out to these prostitutes.

Here's the gist of what we were instructed to do:
A couple women go and start talking to a prostitute, they initiate the conversation, and then after a couple of minutes, if the woman is responsive, one or a few of the guys can come over and talk a bit, while always treating them with respect. The woman who shared and led us gave us some ideas as to what to talk about and all that too. We also talked about how best to show respect to them, and what is appropriate, and what isn't, and our safety too.

After we went over all of this, and shared and prayed, we divided into two groups (about 5 in each), with mixture of guys and gals, and went out (after praying for each other and for the trip), to find some prostitutes to bless and pray for and such.

So one group of us walked to the right, down the street, and the other group walked to the left (from our house). Oh, yeah, I should have said right away, that our street, Troost st, has a lot of prostitutes walking up and down it at night.
So I was with the group that walked to the left down Troost. The people who went to the right, have an AWESOME story about that night too!!!! But as for our group saw a couple prostitutes, but weren't able to talk to any of them, cause one didn't want to talk, and another got picked up – or got business right away, before we could get to her. And it was very strange and odd, but we didn't see many prostitutes that night.

BUT God had (and has) other plans!

Quick list of people in our group:
Meghan (*awesome* leader)
Rosalind (intern)
Morgan (intern, and he's a dude)
The woman with Exodus Cry
Tre (intern)
And me (intern)

So we were all praying and listening to God's Spirit, as we walked, and then, both Meghan and I suddenly felt a spiritual shift. Like, all-of-the-sudden. For me, I felt a sort of force, like a sci-fi show where there are invisible shields and force-fields. I literally felt a sudden shift in the atmosphere, and it was like a pushing against me, but at the same time, I also saw that there was a force-field from God originating in me, (God's Spirit in me) that rose to meet that other force-field, and push it back, away from me. :D haha love that... :D One of the reasons I love sci-fi... cause a lot of times, it's pretty close to reality in terms of the spiritual side of things...

It was pretty much like this, except I didn't have to raise my arm, God was just there. 


Anyway, at the same time, we all heard some strange “music” or sounds nearby. And then we saw the lights and all the hub-bub. There was this building, which used to be an old fire-station, that had all the windows open, weird music, weird moving lights, and strange looking people. As we were walking by, we all felt the atmosphere change, and we all got sudden feelings of peace, or joy, or assurance of God's love and presence in our lives.

A woman, wearing a black fancy one-piece swim suit outfit, with and other decorations, came out to us, and asked us 'What are you all doing tonight?' and we told her we were just walking the streets, and she then began to try to explain what they were all doing, and said something about they are totally 'experimental', and anything goes, and that they are just basically opening themselves up to anything that comes their way. The whole while the strange 'music' was pulsing through the place and out onto the street around.

I didn't really talk to the woman, but Morgan, who was one of the ones who did, said that when this woman was talking, it was like she was talking in circles, and was very confused, and couldn't really explain what she wanted to... it was obvious she was strongly influenced with some demon or spirit. But that doesn't scare God, and God is in us, so we didn't have fear. This woman invited us to come in, and have a look around, and apparently, you're supposed to pay a fee of some sort, but she said we could come in for free. We think that she was the organizer of the place.

Anyway, while my team was talking to her, I saw this younger gal about age 14 standing there holding a cute, small white dog (we later realized that a lot of occults sacrifice white animals, so we later suspected that is what it was for). I could tell right away, that she was sad, and felt unsafe. So I talked to her a bit about the dog, and then just dove in and simply asked her if she knew anything about God. And she said no, so I just said what was on my heart for her...which was basically everything opposite to what I could see she was feeling, and the atmosphere of the place. That God is a good God, He is all the care and love, you've ever known, combined, and then added a zillion times extra. And that God keeps us safe, and cares about us, and wants to be with us, and PROTECT us.

She TOTALLY received what I said, yet was still really, really sad, and looking down. Then I asked her if I could pray and bless her (I like to say that when I pray for someone I don't know, 'Can I pray for you right now, or just bless you?'. I asked her (which is really important) if I could put my hand on her shoulder, she said yes, and I got to pray for her!!! :D:D:D:D:D Some of what I prayed was for God's love to bless her, and for protection, and His goodness to come into her life. It was awesome.

Okay, so I'll attempt to describe the 'music' that was pouring out of that place: It had no beat, sounded chaotic, get trance-like. It was basically a collection of random sounds thrown out. There was a lot of screeching sounds, odd banging here and there, and strange lower sounds too... all together it sounded like off of some horror movie or something. It was NOT organized, or had any semblance of order or precision of sound. It was 'experimental', like the lady said.

So, was asked God's Spirit if we could enter, and he gave us all the ok, so we went in two by twos or in small groups (that is important), and I couldn't help but rejoice and praise God in the middle of all of what we saw, and felt.

Ok, so there were about 30 people in all, there, and many of them were dressed up.. one person had huge bunny ears, and thick white face-paint, others had a lot of black – gothish looking... and Tre said he saw a man who was probably around 30, but had the face of a really old person, and all this kind of stuff. People were all dressed up... and EVERYONE (other than our group) was all stoic and had these downcast looks on their faces.
Gloominess.
The first room was all wide open, with a couple 'musicians' in the back. And there were some chairs around the sides of the room. There was this little side room, where the stairs were, with bookshelves with very odd things on it, like occult symbols, and other creepy things like that... I didn't really want to dwell on looking at that. And all along the top of the room, there was this snake-like piece of 'art'. It was the metallic hosing that you use for say, your dryer or something like that, except it was really big, and it was cut so that the red Christmas lights could shine through. It looked like a metal, shining, red snake.

Then upstairs, there were some rooms, with beds in them, and velvety stuff, and a room with a TV on the static, and a small kitchen-ish place with beer in it. And at the end of the hallway, there was a large room, with another 'musician' playing demonic 'music' with big windows open to the street below, and moving lights. There were a few chairs on one end of the room, and an old sewing machine in the corner. Odd. There were no doors. Everything was wide open, and the sounds were just blatantly obvious to be inviting of evil.

Anyway, we came out of there after looking around, and we walked away, and we all needed to really pray. So we prayed together as a group and cleansed ourselves of anything that we might have picked up from that place. And I had a word for Morgan too... something God wanted him to hear/know.

SO, TODAY... Tommy, his friend Ethan, and I decided to go for a walk, and we walked past the 'Evil' house, and saw that there was some kind of function going on. Then Ethan got this awesome idea: that we go and sing worship songs on a bench across the street from the 'Satan House'.

We asked God about it, and t'was cool with Him, so we got a guitar, and a small drum, and worshipped God with some songs there. As we were chilling with God, two people, husband and wife, come walking down the sidewalk where we were, and we recognized them as some people we had met earlier at the local outdoor community pool! They too, are Jesus followers, we started talking, and they totally wanted to join in with the Jesus time.

While they were still walking up, and I didn't yet recognize them, God was telling me to ask them if we could pray for them, and so I asked them. As I asked them, Tommy also said that He heard God telling him that too. And they said that they'd really like some prayer because they are going to be moving out to the Middle East somewhere, with God. And that they'd like prayer for that. So we had them sit on the bench, and we all prayed for them, and I got a 'word of knowledge' for each of them, and them together as a married couple.

And we just hung out and worshipped God there! On the sidewalk, across from the street to where the Satan House is! The Satan House wasn't that loud or rambunctious as it was the first time we checked it out, but there was something going on. But anyway, God put some people in our path, as we stepped out in faith, and praising, and putting God first in that place.

Then, after some time of that, we saw a man-woman (transvestite, or a man who dresses up like a woman) prostitute. Walking up the street, (there's a lot of those down here), and immediately, this couple we met went running and said 'Hi', and talked with 'her' cause they already had a healthy, kind relationship with 'her' and knew 'her' a bit. Anyway, they invited us over, and we accepted, and shall yet go over to their place within the next few days before the internship is over.

But, I really got to pray, and speak over this couple, and we saw angels, and Tommy and I both saw a sort of 'bubble' thingie around this couple as they sat there on the bench together... God is doing amazing things, and is continually. We just had an idea (from God), and went and just did it, prayerfully. But we just did it.

Those who have God in them, He is with us, His power is in us, and where we go, He goes. So all that remains is if it is His will or not. And sometimes God doesn't give a direct answer as to if it is His will or not, for us to do something. BUT that can a lot of times just be God saying 'I'm with you wherever you go, whether it's on a sidewalk, or in the comfort of your own home, I'm with you. So do not be afraid, and GO FORTH. With my blessing. I'll let you know if I don't want you to do something.'

I love God! :) He loves, Oh! How He loves.

PS One thing to clarify: God prevails, so don't be afraid or fearful because of this story.  If you are, pray about it, and ask someone else to pray for you, because this is not for you to be scared by.   God doesn't endorse that kind of fear.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Reflections of Walking in Right-Relating


God's Holy Spirit is WAAY more powerful than I ever knew!  HE can really lead, and teach SO much! And He heals and helps people that you'd never imagine. But where does it all stem from?

We've been practicing and learning how to simply fall into His ways.  That's all it is! FALLING.  You know that term 'falling in love', well, that is what is LITERALLY happening with us, and God!  He IS love, after all.  And the idea of FALLING.  If God's love is a river, we simply have to fall into it.  And that's our life.

FALLING into God's river of love. Just letting go, and falling into Him, and His ways (this pic is not of anyone I know, by the way).

 Just falling back into His ways.  His ways are like a path... a continual path of good standing with God.  Oh, and falling in that love, and being in that river or that path, is righteousness.  It is not contingent on what we do, or don't do, or think etc... it just is.  God just is.

A friend of mine, Tommy, said he just had an awesome revelation about this.  He said he was listening to a dude, Joseph Prince, talk about how we usually talk about trying to achieve completeness, and perfection, and that is the whole point of the path: to get to the goal of completeness.

HOWEVER!: This dude was saying, "No!" this is NOT how it works!  It works like this: We are already made complete and whole in Christ, THEN we move forward IN that completeness!!  WOW!

And we've been learning about that in other ways too, but this one is the most recent explanation.

There's another explanation too, on one of my earlier blog posts. It's talking about what the word 'righteousness' means in Hebrew, and how that applies to our lives.  << AWESOMENESS!!!!!

I think the hardest part about walking in 'right-relating', is the regular mundane, everyday stuff that goes on in our lives. And the thing is, how do we walk in right-relating with God as much as possible, even in the mundane times. And in every area of our lives.
This ties into what we just learned the other day about the Hebrew worldview, vs. The Greek worldview (ours). (There is more on this on one of my previous posts.)

In the Greek worldview, we separate spirituality from regular life stuff. We only see God in everything around us when it comes down to the fact that He created it. Whereas in the Hebrew worldview, God's presence is seen in everything, all the time, and ACTIVELY working. 

For example, the chair that you are sitting on is viewed as something that is constantly pushing you upwards, and holding you up. It is actively a chair. And it is only that way because God is, right now, willing it to be that way. So God is constantly willing, and choosing, and making things to happen as we see them. Even inanimate objects. 

God is always there, always. He is in all, through all, and is all. He is also Himself. He is. And it might sound kind of complicated, but it's really quite simple: God literally holds everything together, all the time!!

We just have to realize it, and step into the river. Step into His path. Or, as I was saying earlier: FALL into His love! FALL in LOVE with God!!! :) After all, 'He Is'.

That's just a tidbit for you.

This was a short blog post for once! :D

Please leave comments...

Thursday, 30 June 2011

What Simple Church Looks Like


GOD IS GOOD!

Okay, so there's been a lot going on, and I will try to share some of it on here. So about three days ago, two young men, Ryder and Marten, came over to live with us at the intern 'House of Troost', because 'Student Cpx' has started. CPx stands for, 'Student Church Planting eXperience', a 10 day training which equips people to start Simple Churches in their neighbourhood/campus/highschool. Simple Church is just people getting together to get to know God. If you want to know more about Simple Church, please check it out. Here's a video that explains it a little bit:


And here's a link to Student Cpx: StudentCPx.org
The other people who are doing the CPX are G'Tavias, our neighbour, and Ben, a dude that God organized Myles to meet a day before we started doing the CPX, and he was really interested, has totally committed to coming and is learning a lot! Ben is a really awesome dude. So glad to have met him. Yes, and everyone is young people, under age 30.

Almost all of us interns and CPxers and neighbours!  At the local fountain.

Marten, and Ryder, crazy Americans - living with us for Student CPx! :)
Ben, G'Tavias, and Tommy, chillin at the Boiler Room before digging into God's Spirit, and His Bible.



But anyway, Simple Church in a nutshell is just some people who believe in Jesus Christ, God the Father, and His Holy Spirit, and that get together and seek Him together in a simple way. I'll try to paint a picture of what a regular church time is for us.

Every time we do church together, it has been different! There isn't one time I can tell you of, where we had the exact same structure, AT ALL!!! So I'll just tell you what happened last night, because then you can have a picture at least. Nearly every single time we meet up for 'church', we invite, and have some people come who do not know God, and eat a meal together. So last night, we were all hanging out in the living room, and Khrystal, my housemate, one of the interns (she's on some of the pics on here), asked a head of time to be the 'facilitator', the person who helps direct, and guide the conversation, they don't preach, or take control of the conversation, but they just facilitate, so that we all can stay on the same page, and not loose track of the focus: GOD.

So, anyway, before we started, Khrystal explained what we were doing: that we were just going to hang out with God for a bit, and hear and listen to His voice, because we know that God speaks to all of us, and He loves to. And she explained that if we open ourselves to Him, He will speak to us. We prayed to invite the Holy Spirit to lead, and then we read a Bible verse (a section in God's book), Romans 12 verse 1-8. All about God transforming our minds, and how we each have our own special talents, and how it is pleasing to God when we all function in our abilities. And a whole bunch of other stuff. If you want to check it out, please do so: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12&version=CEV

Oh, and I have to add, whenever we read the Bible together, we pretty much always have it so that not only one person reads it, but a whole bunch of people get to. And this time we pre-printed this part of the Bible that we were going to read, so that everyone got to have a copy, and everyone had the same translation, and there would be no confusion, or feeling bad because you didn't have your own Bible. Because a lot of the time we get people who never read a Bible in their lives. So, we try to make it as inviting and on equal basis with everyone as possible. We reach them where THEY ARE AT, instead of expecting them to fit in, be like us, or just learn our church culture on their own.

It can be very uncomfortable and uninviting and strange for people to come to a church or meeting, or place where everyone is doing and understanding something, that they can't relate or understand. There can be a lot of unspoken rules and ways of doing things, which can cause them to feel alone and slightly rejected because they really, really don't fit in or understand what's going on. They may not know why people are doing and saying things, that they've never heard of before.

Today we were just learning about how there are so many 'Christianese', or religious words that Christians use, that the average Joe, would have no clue what that means. Like:

  • anointing
  • the blood of the lamb
  • salvation
  • disciples
  • christian
  • holy spirit
  • pagan
  • gentile
  • great commission
  • the cross
  • Jesus' blood
  • redemption
  • blessing
  • verse
...and a whole pile of other ones that as 'Christianese' Christians, wouldn't necessarily realize that they're speaking a whole other language! Not that those words are bad, but that they must be EXLPAINED or interpreted into regular language so that everyone can understand.

So instead of saying those words, we can say other more regular words like
  • 'followers of Jesus' instead of Christian, and/or disciples,
  • 'people who don't know God' instead of gentiles or pagans
  • and other simple things like that.
I'm sure that if you know what the 'Christianese' word means, then you can interpret it for people. But the thing is to try to remember to do that. So that everyone is included, and knows what's up. The main reason for including people is, yes, to have them feel comfortable and invited, but also to draw them in to what is going on, and to help them hear from God, SO THAT THEY can CONTRIBUTE to the group!!!

Lindsay Ellison, who has lived here in Kansas City Missouri for quite a few years, doing simple church, said that some of THE most amazing revelations she has gotten from a gathering is when a person who doesn't know Jesus says something relating to what God is leading in the group!! Like, a observation of the scripture, or something that the Holy Spirit tells them, or just a remark about God, or something that is like God. She would be able to tell you more about that, but I'm just 'nutshelling'.

So yeah, Lindsay was emphasizing the importance of explaining, explaining, explaining!! It's okay to over-explain what is going on, and what we are doing. And if at any given point, someone notices someone else using 'Christianese' word(s), then to jump in and explain. Also, if you notice that there is someone who is not really getting it, or who needs help, or who just needs that extra bit of attention, you go over to them and help em out.

ALSO:
EVERYONE is at the meeting to give, and to receive! NO ONE is only giving, and no one is to just receive. That's one reason why we all read the Bible.

How do we do that? Oh, you can do it in a variety of ways. But I'll just say what we did it last night: we read one verse (section) each, and since there were more people than verses, we read it twice. But we usually do that: read the Bible section more than once. Sometimes we read it many times, like about 8 times, until we really get it. We can read it privately, we can have one person read the whole section, and another person read it, and another.... and then have a discussion time, and then read it again... etc. It is freely led, and freely received.

One of the biggest things, is that we have to get comfortable with silence, and with letting the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God lead, and tell us what to do, and guide us. To be free and open to Him, God's Spirit, which is alive today, right now, and in those who have let Him come into them.

... Continuing the story of what happened last night: After we read the Bible section, Khristal suggested to everyone that we just be quiet and let God's Spirit come and speak to us. Then Tre, another housemate/intern explained shat that was: What it means to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Tre explained basically what I already said above, and also said that we like to open our hands on our laps or wherever so physically show that we are opening ourselves up to Him, and that we are in receiving mode, ready for God to come and speak to each person. And Tre said something like, 'embrace the awkwardness, and just invite God to speak to you'. Hahaha! Luv that. Reminds me of Myles' quote: 'Blessed are the awkward, for they shall see cool things'. Anyway, so that's just what we did. We all just sat there in silence and let God come, for about 3-5 min. And then, after waiting there in that way of receiving mode, we started talking.

Khristal asked if anyone noticed anything pop out at them, or anything that they had a question about. At first, not many people had anything to say... but the conversation pretty much always starts to get going when we ask what people think, or what they want to say about the Bible section. And so people talked a bit about it. But this whole time, G'Tavias was sitting there looking through a Bible, and then, when he got the chance, he said, 'I have something I'd like to read from Corinthians.' Corinthians is a section of the Bible). And Khristal and Tre, and everyone who knew G'Tavias were thinking, 'WHAT!? How can he know about Corinthians! He's only been reading parts of the Bible for a few weeks! And we know exactly what parts, and Corinthians wasn't one of them!!!'. Then G'Tavis read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, where it says 'Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen shall pass, and what is unseen is eternal.' http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%204:16-18&version=NIV

It was an awesome section. But just after he read that (and a bit while), Khristal was squealing and jumping in her seat and was exclaiming, 'Oh MY GOD!! How did you know to get that verse!!?? I totally wanted to read that verse today, but God was telling me NOT to, and told me to have us read this other verse Rom 12, instead!! How did you know to read that!!!'.

To which G'Tavias responded, 'When we were quiet listening to the Holy Spirit, I heard a thought in my head and it said to look up 2 Corinthians 4:16.'
WOW! G'Tavias is our neighbour, and this was the first time he heard, and operated out of what God said to him personally!! WOW! And then as a group, with a whole bunch of other people contributing, we found out that these two verses connect because:

Another dude, Ryder, who's here for the Cpx, heard God telling him that that verse that G'Tavias read was for Khristal, because she was asking God to do a miracle, so that she would still believe in Him, cause she wasn't sure about believing in God as much, unless she saw a miraculous physical healing. And Ryder then said what he realized: that that verse was for Khristal to hear, and to receive because she needed to hear and know that God is a lot about the unseen. And a lot of times we have to focus on the unseen, instead of the seen, because the seen is temporary, and the unseen is eternal.

THEN we all got the revelation that these two verses matched up right there at that moment! The scripture really came alive, because that exact verse in Romans said that everyone contributes and all that, well we were doing that RIGHT there, right away, without even realizing it! God was leading! And it was because we LET HIM LEAD. :)
We were all getting really excited, and freaked out because God had done that all so quickly and obviously.

So, then later.. after more discussion, and revelation, we did a neat worship thingie. That is another thing we've been learning: there are many different ways on how to worship God. We learned that worshipping God is defined well in this phrase:

Our mind's attention, and our hearts affection towards God.

That is worship. So, worship doesn't always have to be singing or music. Singing and music are wonderful, and we all love to do that, but it's not the only way. So we've been learning from others, and the Holy Spirit how to worship, and new ways of doing it. So, Khristal learned from the Holy Spirit (he just gave her the idea), to praise/worship God in this new and awesome way. We would clap our hands and knees, all in the same rhythm, and then one person at a time would say to the beat,
'I like to praise God with my _____ by _____ ing'. And each person would have to make up a new one. So for example, you could say,
'I like to praise God with my hands by clapping'. And the next person, right away, would have to say theirs, while maintaining the rhythm! And if you mess up, you're out. It was fun. And then after we prayed, and the Holy Spirit really came, because we realized that all the things that we were saying about how we like to praise God, were all aspects of Him, and how many good things He is, and how He loves us etc.

Then we didn't want to quit, so we started jamming with some musical instruments! :) Just freely, and there really was hardly a beginning or end to the songs... it really was one big intense, Spirit filled song. That's how we do a lot of our songs... we just keep going, and it changes as we go. But it is all about being in tune with the Holy Spirit, and what He wants to do. Even when we worship.

And sometimes, during a song, someone will break out in a prayer to God, something that is on their heart, that they want to say to God. And we keep playing the music, just quieter, and let it all flow together. Because there is more freedom, and comfort in speaking out because it's family.

Actually, that is one of THE KEY aspects of what we are learning! Meghan Strickland, one of our AWESOME leaders, has been emphasizing, that us as people of God living together in community, and oneness with each other and God, WE ARE A FAMILY. And family is not uncomfortable in speaking out, and in telling each other what is really going on, and working out differences, and sticking to each other, even through hardships. Also, FAMILY naturally reproduces!! It's not a difficult, or unnatural thing for a family to grow. And so it is with simple church. When the people get mature in God, they go off and 'get married', if you will, and start a family of their own. It's not that complicated. Another thing is too, is that, when they go off and start their own family, they are still connected to their old family!! So they can still fit in, and be comfortable with that family, and be mentored, and helped out by them. But they are also, just as connected to their new family!!

And the glue of it all is God's LOVE! I already wrote a lot about that, cause that is the center of all of this. It's just like every human baby is designed to be born out of intimacy and love between a man and woman, God's churches, or people gathering, and meant to be born out of HIS divine LOVE. There really is no other way around it!

A lot of times people just focus on the goal, and that we need to get a church planted, and get God to come. But really all it is is His people LOVING each other, and then that love will naturally spread.

So I suppose I will do a separate blog post on the miraculous healings, because this one is really long.

Tre, Marten, and Melissa (a fellow CANADIAN), talking about God together at the Boiler Room.

Tre.  He's got an awesome smile, and contageous laughter!  He's the type of person, that when he starts laughing, you just join in even if you don't know what he's laughing about.  And he is quick to laugh which really engages others, and spreads God's love! :)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The FULLNESS of God's LOVE!


God's LOVE is SOOOOO AMAAAAAAAAZING!!!

I was just thanking God for His love for me and mostly thanking Him for this extremely precious gift He has given me: A God family.

WOW GOD!!! Thank you for giving me what I never even thought of! There's that verse that says 'God will give you more than you could ever ask or think', well that is totally what has happened to me! I never even THOUGHT that this could happen!!! That God's people could love like this!! And because I never knew of this concept/aspect of His love, I couldn't even ask God for it!! :) :) Praise God!! For giving me what I didn't even know to ask for!! :) :) :) :D:D:D:D:D:D:D

WOW!!

It's a totally amazing concept! I will try to explain it:

God has DESIGNED His LOVE, so that it can be spread and be uniting. Ok, so it's like a computer program. God's love is like a computer program, that when people who know God's love, or download His love, when they get that, then this weird natural thing can happen. You see, God has designed His love to be super compatible: when someone downloads it, they can easily share it with ANYONE else!!! God has created His love SUPER compatible with PC s, Macs, and whatever else!!! ANYONE can share and receive His love! And the AMAZING thing about this is that when two people who know God's love, come together they can naturally overflow and build each other up and edify or help each other because of GOD'S LOVE!!!
It is not their love, but HIS!!! And it's like GLUE for HIS PEOPLE!!!!!!!

Yo, Jesus made ONE SINGLE command to His people. What was it????!!
TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS HE LOVED US!!!!

Dude, that is serious business. Jesus really, really, really loved. I mean, you look at Him, and you see the definition of love. Seriously. And, I mean, God doesn't take love lightly. He defines it really seriously. I mean, it's not easy to love people all the time, y'know? But He does. When His people curse at Him, blame Him, hate Him, laugh and mock Him, He STILL loves them! I mean, love isn't just a feeling or emotion or a nicy-nicy lovely blissful thing! It is HARD CORE!!! Really INTENSE, yo!

Love is probably one of THE hardest things on the face of the earth to do, simply because it is the very nature of God, and it is SO pure, and AGAINST our human nature, and what we want in life. I mean, we all want love, but TO love, is what I'm talking about. To love someone even if they outright HATE you. Or to love someone when they embody EVERYTHING that you fear, hate, detest, abhor, and resent, that is serious business!

Now, don't take this wrong, I'm not saying to agree with, or accept bad things that other people do. I'm not saying to condone evil in others, or let people treat you bad, or walk all over you, but what I AM saying, is that God LOVES us even when we do bad things!
That doesn't make the bad things good, or right cause there are consequences for evil, but NOTHING can separate us from HIS LOOOVEE!!!!

And so God says to love like He loves. DUDE! That is serious business!

Anyway, so... GOD has actually literally PUT HIS LOVE IN US, when we accept and let Him in, and KNOW His love, we can cultivate it, and let it grow, and it WILL grow, and His Holy Spirit will counsel, and teach us how to help it grow. And when it does grow, we have this AMAZING thing to share!

I'll use an analogy: It's like everyone who knows God's love has these tentacles. And when two people who have these tentacles come together, and these tentacles touch and entwine, these two people can then give, and receive the amazing love, given to them from God, inside of them, and share it with each other! They can pray for each other, laugh together, cry together, encourage each other, build each other up, heal each other, and SO so so so sooooo much more!! And this love leaves LASTING imprints on each person they share it with because it is an EVERLASTING full, and FULFILLING love!

AMAZING!!!!!!!! WOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It really is God's Holy Spirit. Dude, God's love is like glue. I'm telling you! It is like the only thing that makes any relationship really last in its fullness. Y'know? Like, love is something that you have to learn to do, and you have to DECIDE to do. It doesn't have a mind of it's own, it is a conscious decision that people have to make. And God teaches love. He teaches how to love, and He IS love! He also freely gives His love away! He gives it to us.

OK, so the AWESOMEST thing about this whole love thing is that, the essence of the way that God DESIGNED love is so that it can be shared. And because God created everyone so different, His love can be shared and shown in SO MANY WAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The kind of love that has shocked-my-pants-off, is His love BETWEEN His people. The people that know His love, and these people sharing it.

Yeah, as the hippies would say, “Share the luuuuuv, man!” -Y'know, God's kind of love.

I have NEVER thought that God's love could be THIS strong, and shocking, and FULL, in my LIFE!!!!!!!!! I NEVER have experienced God's love THIS FULL before!!!

I mean, these days I've been going around praying and telling my housemates, my spiritual family, about how awesome this whole FULLNESS is! I'm totally freaking out about how FULL His love is! It is SO much more than just the love between person and God. I mean, that one-on-one love is great and all that, but the love that is His love, shared with person to person, and Him... a tri-action going on... that is what I'm talking about! YEEEEAH! BRING IT OOOWWNNN!!!
:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Words cannot express HOW THANKFUL I am for the extension of His great love. The love that He has purposely given those that know Him, to SHARE!!! It truly is how He intended it, ya'll. HE DESIGNED His love to be shared, and 100% totally FUNCTIONAL between His people!!!!

* IMPORTANT NOTE *
Yo, if you haven't, you NEED to read my previous blog postings on what God views as functional, cause wow, that is a major brain shift, and a 'shocking-your-pants-off' revelation!!  Link to that blog post called: What I've/We've Been Learning!!

Yeah, so God's love is WAY more than what I've always thought it was, ya'll!

Maybe you can relate and identify with this: I have always learned and been taught that God's love is first between Him, and His Son, and His Spirit, and that He personally loves us, each person, – A LOT.

I knew that far. But that's it. I NEVER even really knew the SHOCKING reality, that God's love goes beyond that! That, yes, He loves me intensely, but HE ALSO planned it so that His people, who HAVE/KNOW His love... that THEY can SHARE IT!!! SOOOOOOOO strongly, and amazingly, and POWERFULLY!!!!!!!!!!

And yo, I can really be a witness, and say, that over the past few weeks, I have gotten to know God's love in the second most POWERFUL ways that I ever have.

Dude, half the love I know from God is between me and Him, and the other half, is still pretty new, and mysterious to me, is the love HE GIVES between His people!!!

Today, I can tell you that my bros and sisters in Christ were literally like soft bumper pads for me. I was going through some really tough inner stuff that God was revealing to me, and I knew, at this point, that I could trust, and share it with these certain select people, and so I did, and yo! They were the most lovely, warm, comforting, and THE most bestest helpers-through-God! They layed their hands on me, and prayed, and prophesied over me, and it felt like I was falling into loving arms of GOD'S chosen people!!! SO MUCH of His love was poured out on me THROUGH them at that one moment. ....and ....WOW........ yo, it was all God, but HE CHOOSES and DESIGNS it so that it is THROUGH HIS PEOPLE that He imparts His tender-loving-care to me, and us!

And yo, people, this is just a description of what happened today, ya'll. This kind of love has been constant – given from God to us – and shared amongst us... ya'll it has been from the very start of this internship, and has constantly been intensely growing and getting stronger between us at the house here. So, I mean, what I just described up there, was ONE MOMENT that I experienced TODAY. It was AWESOME and intense, but there are other times too ya'll. Some smaller, and others large and overpowering like the above. But all those little small moments add up, and it all just builds.

We all have to work on it too. There have been issues and problems, and yeah, there are even STILL problems that are going on between us all. Like, amongst us and individuals. I, personally, have already been hurt by some of the people here, and I also have to deal with some things that I really don't like about some people. But we have principles that we know, one of them being to talk to the person right away, if you have a problem with them. And so that is what I have to do... and so ... but THAT IS LOVE, ya'll. Working at things. Talking things through. And, yeah, we established, and had an awesome talk about how, at the ROOT of all of this, is HUMILITY.

Humility vs. Pride.
  • Pride says, 'that person is doing that thing wrong', whereas humility says 'what am I doing wrong'.
  • Pride says, 'I have that thing figured out' whereas humility says, 'I can always learn more'.
  • Pride says, 'Are you following God?' whereas humility says, 'Am I following God?'

And yo, that is also love. Being humble is loving. And telling someone that they offend you, when they do _____, is also love. So... yeah...

“humility = vehicle for community', is a quote from Meghan and Lauren, two awesome sisters in Christ who lived together for a year and learned SO SO SO shockingly much about love, and TRUE community, that it will shock your pants off, yo.

Anyway, I'll stop typing on here, so that you can breath and take a break from all this reading!

Hope you enjoy the pics!

Luv,
SN

Pics!...
Lauren and Meghan, the two gals who shared about humility, and a LOT of community building stuff from living together for a year.

A 'prayer' tree that Justine, a previous intern made for our house.  'Troost' is the name of our street, and it means 'comfort' in Dutch. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, so we names our house, 'House of Troost'.  On the leaves of the tree, anyone can put their prayer requests, or verses.

Playing basketball with neighbours.

The neighbour family, and their cousin/nephew in the front middle.  We intentionally go to their house often, and they come over too, whenever, and we incorperate them into what we're doing, and we teach and show them about God A LOT! :) They are very receptive, and we love them.


My sistas in Christ! Rosalind, Meghan, and Krhistal.

The dude interns, my bros in Christ!  Tre, Morgan, and Tommy, on Morgan's 22nd b-day!
Jus chillin again on a couch - at Tracy House.
Taylor, a dude that God had us meet through a long story of prophetic 'treasure hunts' and stuff.  And who later came to our collective simple church gathering.  And Tommy - playing guitars.

AMAZING prayer at IHOP, International House of Prayer, Kansas City.  These young dudes, would really, really pray for each other, and have the Holy Spirit strongly impact other young men - something rare and foreign to me.  I was really amazed and thankful for that.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Oneness & Inner Healing


Hi one and all!

God is doing some awesome stuff, in me and in the other people, and as a group as a whole. As God's people, we are all intended for community and oneness, and it is a totally new and awesome feeling for me to experience this sense of oneness and a kind of wholeness in being together, on the same game-plan, and share similar passions, and love for GOD and people!

Y'know that in Acts 11:26, (this verse only shows the whole year thing in some translations. It is accurate because it is in the Hebrew translation) the apostles and other Christians got together and communed for A YEAR in one of the passages that we were reading!! A YEAR! Just hanging out with God and each other! And other stories of how people as Christ-followers hanging out with each other seeking God, and finding Him, and KNOWING Him, and moving to totally OTHER places from that! It is like the body of Christ HAS to move from that place of oneness. Y'know?
Like that verse that says, about “How can the hand (or whatever body part) move, without the rest of the body knowing?” No, the body is 100% CONNECTED!!! It is ONE.
Before God created earth, and all that is in it, it all began with a PERFECT communing relationship between God the father, the son, and the spirit. And that was good. And then OUT of that he made the earth and all that is in it, and had a RELATIONSHIP with Adam and Eve and all that. He even made Eve for Adam because He said that it was not good for Adam to be alone, he created Eve to be in a relationship with Adam!
And so it all stems out of relationships and His love, and that love given to mankind. Y'know where I'm getting at? Y'know what I mean? So, God INTENDED us as Christ-followers, to be in RELATIONSHIPS. With Him and His people! I don't know how more simply I can put this.

It is actually quite simple and obvious, but I don't really think that many people understand it. Or the extent to what I am trying to say here. I mean REAL relationships. Like the kind where you live together, as much as able/possible, and you know and share deep things, or struggles in your life with trusted and wise Christ-followers. A community of people who you dig deep into the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, and the Hebrew, and God's divine words of empowerment and wisdom spoken through His people, His Bible, nature and His revelation.

Picture: His people crying, dancing, laughing, healing, sharing, loving, hugging, and blessing and LIVING LIFE all in, and through Him. That is what I'm talking about.

  • Some people think they pretty much have most of all that
  • Some say that they don't really like, or need that.
  • Some say that they'd love to have more of that, but that it isn't really possible to have all of that community,
  • or that they can just have some, and make do.

Well I'm telling you that you CAN have all of that, and moreover, you were, and ARE MEANT to have all of that community love in your life!

Of course we all have sin and brokenness in our lives, and we may find it uncomfortable to know someone closely and stuff, but that's the whole point: God is not limited by our brokenness! He makes all things new! And He wants to enter in and show us how, and where we need to let Him in, and heal.

Today we were learning from Jean, one of the teachers about how we ALL have different levels and aspects of brokenness, and why, and how to deal with it. It was a really revealing, and intense time.
We all need healing somewhere in ourselves. And we all carry around some kind of brokenness. Mostly from how we ourselves were raised as children, because no parent is perfect.

And then, we learned that we can help other people find healing by laying hands on them and praying for them. Jean gave us some really good practical tips on HOW to pray for people, and stuff. Some people need to spend more time with God personally, and experience His love in a private God time. Whereas some people really need to get prayed for by other people so that the healing can happen, but there were some key things that we learned about HOW to pray for these certain Core Needs.

There are two basic categories called our 'Core Needs', and if we DON'T get these while growing up, this is where major aspects of our brokenness stems from.

Core Needs:
  1. Our Sense of Being
    - safe and secure environment
    - connection and belonging
    - unconditional love and acceptance
    - basic care and nurture

  1. Our Sense of WELL Being
    - constant reinforcement of personal worth
    - repeated messages of value, uniqueness, and specialness
    - encouragement to grow and develop personal gifts and talents
    - pathway to fellowship with God
    - feeling needed and useful

And then Jean went into this whole thing where she explained that we all have these different outcomes, behaviours and 'dysfunctions' in our lives, and how we live and deal with things.

There were a set of five different systems of how people build themselves, and how they operate out of their original dysfunctions. And the dysfunctions all stem out of the above Core Needs that haven't been originally met. I found myself mostly in one category or system of dysfunction, and also a little bit in another one.

A summary of the five systems of function or dysfunction:
  1. “You Tell Me” – where the person needs/wants others to always tell em what to do etc.
  2. “Fix Me” – a person who expects others to fix them regularly
  3. “I Need You to Love Me” – they will do anything to have people love themselves
  4. “Stay Out” – where the person shuts everyone out
  5. “Nobody Home” - loose their identity and self focus and only want to please others.

We were able to spend some alone time with God to simply discover where our own personal dysfunction is, and at the same time know WHY it is that way. For instance, some of what I had was a mixture of being too closed off to others and keeping myself at a safe distance away from people, while still maintaining a good front. And this stemmed from a lacking in some of the Core Needs listed above. That is just a piece of what I learned about myself, and all of what I'm learning!! Wow! And these blog posts are SO long!!

Just to let you know, we also learned about Hebrew meanings of things, and the Hebrew worldview. Maybe I'll post more of that later. Thanks for reading! Hope you can understand what I'm trying to say. If you have any questions, PLEASE ask me!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

What I've/We've Been Learning!!


First off, two concepts that you will need to redefine are:
  1. Righteousness
  2. Good and Evil
The Hebrew meanings of these are COMPLETELY different to what I have ever heard of before! Keep reading to find out!

Jeremy, the man who taught helped us gain the *AWESOME* revelation on the need and power of LOVE, and Myles, one of our AWESOME leaders who I have learned a lot from already, and who is now living with us interns!  We interns call him 'Papa Myles'.
 Yesterday, we were just learning about how LOVE is the center. It may look like we are just hanging out a lot, but that is what we are supposed to do. We are hanging out with the Holy Spirit!! We are being filled. It is amazing. We learned from this dude named Jeremy (picture above). He was our 'guest of awesome' for this week. Here's the basics of what we learned:

Don't focus on all the sickness and problems around. When Jesus came, he didn't simply go out and heal all the time, yes, He did a lot of that too, but that wasn't the goal. His goals were about love. LOVE. He loved the disciples, he loved people, he loved His FATHER. He loved the Spirit. it was all done out of that place of LOVE. Instead of the place of seeing the need and dysfunction and brokenness and operating out of that need to fix it. Y'know?

Jeremy talked about how in the bible it says, 'God so loved the world... that he gave his son...'
but that is the main part right there! GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD..<<!!!!! It is/was out of HIS LOVE that he came to the world. It was out of HIS LOVE that He does all this stuff. It is out of LOVE.

So in turn, that is what, and how we should operate from. In our intern group, we are a group of people with all different sorts of backgrounds and upbringings. The vastness of differences is actually quite amazing! For example, there is about a handful of core personal things that I absolutely cannot relate to for each person living in our house, we're all THAT different. And we are all broken somewhere in our lives. Somewhere in our spirits. No one is complete, and no one has the full understanding of God. But if we just focused on that, and operated out of that need to be fulfilled, it would not work. NO, we must, and are learning HOW to operate out of a RELATIONSHIP with God. We are learning how to, as much as possible, be RIGHT-RELATING with God.

Side note: In Hebrew, righteousness means right-relating. Right-relating means basically being aligned with, and literally facing God, and being in a 'right relationship' with Him.

And if we are right-relating with God, we then naturally become right-relating with others who are also right-relating with Him. We then have a common LOVE and therefore we LOVE more. Because the love is shared towards God, and towards God lovers.

To sum up, the goal is to operate out of God's love. And in order to do that, we need to be filled with His love. And in order to really do THAT, we need to be right-relating with God, and His people who are also right-relating with Him. When Paul talks about the body of Christ, he is bang on serious! It is absolutely silly and useless, and downright crazy to simply have one person, a hand or foot, to reach people who don't know God!! God is all about RELATIONSHIP(S)!!!!!!! You need the WHOLE body as ONE to operate and function!

THAT is the key. He is all about LOVING relationships. And His definition of love is way different than any other definition (please refer to 1 Cor 13 for love definition). You see, if the body of Christ is operating in a functional way, then the multiplication will be fast, and NATURAL. Because it is coming out of a place of LOVE. Loving each other as Christ does.

Oh, another side note: We learned the other day about how the Hebrew meaning of the words good and evil.

  • Good is the same as functional, perfection, and right-relating.
  • Evil = dysfunctional, imperfection and swerving off the path of right-relating/wickedness.

So in Hebrew, good = functional, and evil = dysfunctional. Also, we learned that in Hebrew, all the words are descriptive, and are ALWAYS actively describing the thing that the word means. So good doesn't mean 'function'. It means 'functional'. Because it is actively functional, not still and stagnant. Even the verse, 'be still and know that I am God', the 'be still' part means 'actively standing still'. Like when you stand, you are actively making yourself stand upright pushing against gravity, and using your muscles to maintain that active position.

SO, FINAL SAMMATION... we must be functional as the body of Christ, in order to be replicating and spreading more of Him to others. For example, our neighbours come over all the time, and they are really open to God. And we as the body of Christ are always doing some sort of God stuff at the times when they come. And even if we aren't doing anything spiritual, we are there for them. LOVING them as Christ. Now I know this sounds sort of self glorifying to say that we can love them as Jesus did, but you see, THAT IS THE GOAL!!!!!! The goal is to keep being more and more filled with Christ's love, so that we keep getting renewed and the old keeps dying more and more and more, so that His newness can enter in!! So that more and more, it literally IS NOT our love, and our works, and our stuff that we do that touches other people (even believers too), but it is GOD's HEART and HIS LOVE!!!!

There are a lot of verses that refer to us dying to ourselves, so that God can live in us.

John 12:23 really talks a lot about that. About how if the seed dies, it will grow into more plants. And also in John 15 about how He is the vine and we are the branches, and how we have to be pruned in order to produce more fruit. And there are more! Ones that Paul wrote too! :)

The point is this:
The more we are right-relating and facing God, and the more we learn how to BE THE CHURCH, be the body of Christ, the more we can duplicate.
The thought of trying to make more churches WITOUT any of that, is just painful to me. Because it HAS to operate out of the place of HIS LOVE. His love flowing and filling us as individuals, and HIS love OVERflowing and pouring out into and onto each other. THAT is the goal. THAT is the basic grounding of 'making disciples', and of doing ANYTHING in Him. IT IS THE RELATIONSHIPS!!!!

One of my favourite things that I've been hearing and learning from so many people down here:
'God intended and made us as His people to live in community, with Him, and with His people.' The verse: 'God draws all men unto Himself' really fits with that!

I'll stop typing now, so that you can have a break!

We're going to be learning a lot more too! I haven't even put it all on here yet!!!

G'Tavias (neighbour) and Morgan (house-mate) having some bonding time!

G'Tavias and Tommy (house-mate) climbing a tree - more bonding time!

Prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit before we headed out for outreach.

Same prayer time as previous pic.

Angel, who lives with mom and bro at leader's house, and Courtney (mentor).