A Life Worth Raving About

One of the best and worst parts about moving to a new city is making new friends.  On the one hand, people kind of get stuck in their own old comfortable friend groups,…especially if they grew up together.  So it can be hard to break through that tie to join in to a friend group.  On the other hand, sometimes you meet really cool different people…and you also meet people that you become fast friends with almost instantly!

Well, I must say, that since I have moved here, I have made one of those “fast friends.”  I met this girl named Becca Daniel.  She, her husband and young daughter had all just moved here from my hometown, Nashville, TN.  As we were talking, she told me about a ministry she and a group of girls started called Rave Ministries.  When she said that name, I suddenly was able to recall certain people to mind from Nashville who I thought were some how connected to that ministry.  I started asking if she knew any of the people, and low and behold she did!  Not only did she know those people, but she knew them well just like I do!  Becca actually grew up in the same denomination that I grew up in, her husband taught school for several students that used to be in the ministry I interned for, and she not only knew some of those kids, but she had some of them on her Rave leadership team!  What a small world.

As I have gotten to know Becca and her family, it has become obvious to both of us really, that it is not by accident that we met and are in fact in the same church in the panhandle.  It was a divine appointment in my opinion.  She has been a great friend and encourager to start out my journey in the state of Florida.  It is always good to have a friend to laugh with, cry with, pray with, as well as dream up plans to impact the next generation in faith with…what a blessing you have been!

We both have similar hearts for students and to see students not only know the Lord, but live out their faith and change the world!  We are even planning to partner together on some things for the future in girls ministry… In the meantime, I am excited to say that she is going to be speaking at our new youth worship service this Sunday, called Vibe.

The whole theory of this ministry called Rave is “encouraging 7b94dd14c8e6700edda829bba18101a3girls to live a life worth raving about.”  They started a campaign called No Makeup November that actually went global and encouraged girls to take a fast from wearing make up for the month of November to remind themselves as well as others that beauty is more than skin deep and there is in fact no flaw in you according to God’s mirror.  What a beautiful thing to rave about to our guys and girls so engulfed in selfies and their own image.  I may just have to jump on that band wagon next year! Never thought I would say that!

If you have never heard of Rave Ministries, make sure and click on my link to her page and check it out…After all, encouraging people to live a life worth raving about is something I can definitely get behind! Isn’t that really what we are all called to do??

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A New Thing

The last week has been full of new things.

Getting settled into a new home is full of “where do I want this?  what is functional in this space? Wait, do I even like that picture or lamp?”  These are normal things when you are getting settled into a place.

I have also been having the same questions and doing the same thing this week at work.  Over the holiday, the youth area, The Dock, got a little face lift.  New paint in the worship space, computer room, my office, and the cafe.  I built a new stage set.  We got a new foosball table, checker board station, play station 3 games, as well as new pictures of the students blown up, artwork, and banners.  There are only a few things out of place that I need to take care of before tomorrow morning.

Not to mention, we are starting a new thing in the youth this 1507552_466406043463725_1703352676_nweek…We are starting a new youth worship service for students in 6th to 12th grades at 11am.  There will be a snack breakfast (featuring donuts from The Donut Hole each week, yummy), worship by our youth praise band, our normal prayer box time, and a talk given by myself or a guest speaker.  I am stoked.  We will still have youth on Sunday nights with crazy REACH nights, and dinner, games, and small groups, but why not provide a time and space for students to worship God on Sunday mornings?  The new service is called Vibe Worship.  Vibe means to send emotion or ambiance to people and not by using words (but through Christ in you).  Our aim is to not only provide an opportunity for students to worship on Sunday mornings, but also to help equip students to impact others just by the sheer fact that they have Christ in them!  If you are a student in the Destin, Niceville, or Fort Walton area, we would love to have you!

As I have been processing all this change, the same verse has been popping up to me over and over again this week. It is from Isaiah 43:19.  This section of scripture the Lord is speaking as the “redeemer.”  In the New Living Translation the verse is worded, “For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”  Whew, what a word that our Lord and redeemer could give us?? What hope that gives!  Isn’t it true?

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Just when you think the path has grown over with wilderness and the unknown, He reassures you… that He has already begun working on it ahead of you.  As you draw closer to that path you do realize that HE has in fact created the path for you.  A new path.  Joyce Meyer this week was talking one morning about how you need to be praying blessings over things even when the they seem stagnant…because you need to be reminded that while it may seem like a situation or person isn’t changing, part of your prayer is reminding yourself that God does have it in the works, and to remind God that you do trust Him even when it seems like nothing is happening.

It is true, where God guides, He in fact does provide…even if it is just the next step into the wilderness or the resources to chop down the trees in your way on the path.

I am so excited about the new thing He is doing in my life, and in the ministry He has blessed me with,…and I can’t wait to see what He does!

All In One Peace

A couple weeks ago, I was playing catch up on the phone with one of my mentors from Birmingham.  We were reminiscing on the different things that had happened in 2013, and specifically our feelings towards the year.   So much of 2013 was extreme.  Pows and wows (highs and lows).

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, then you might know that for several years the Lord has revealed to me a word to focus on for each year.  Usually, whatever that word is He constantly reveals Himself to me in it, gives me scripture, and life experiences that help me to understand and appreciate the word and it’s meaning.  My word for 2013 was “peace.”  I find it interesting that it was my word, because much of 2013 was anything but peaceful, by the worlds standards.

The year consisted of:  being emerced in a wonderful young adult group led by great leaders who acted as parents away from home and then leaving them,… being deceived, but then it helped me break a stronghold of fear in my life,… my car breaking down and me purchasing a new one (during the busiest week of the year in student ministry at Trinity),…  reaching an all time high of students coming to a spiritual retreat that I was a part of, but feeling alone,… friends getting married and beach trips, but having anxiety to try not to get sun,… growing in my faith through personal studies and writing curriculum,… raising quite a bit of money for The Bell Center,… going to London,… spending several weeks of the summer traveling and getting to see God work in students lives,… living out of a suitcase,… getting a job opportunity at a wonderful church at my favorite vacation spot,… feeling inspired enough to actually begin writing my book,… making hard decisions,… saying goodbye to friends, co-workers, and students,… excitement for new opportunities,… moving to a place where I didn’t know many people and being far away from family,… having volunteers, families, new friends and co-workers make me feel at home,… one of my best friends getting extremely ill and thinking she wouldn’t be able to walk, and then her recovery was so good she can actually fly now,… lots went on in 2013, but not really much of it was exactly steady and peaceful.  In fact, the last three months I have still had all my belongings in Birmingham and been living with a sweet family here, since I couldn’t get out of my lease (those things are tricky).

8eab5b1c30ff4a29eb4c0e1a41efdf0aYou know what though?  Through it all, I have learned so much.  No matter what was going on or how I was feeling (good or bad), my peace is in Christ.  Sheila Walsh was correct when she said, “Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ,”  I now also understand what Philippians is talking about when it talks about “the peace that passes all understanding.”  When you trust in God and are immersed in Him, you can still have peace no matter what the circumstance.  I am not perfect at this,…but I will say that I no longer am a slave to fear and worry like I used to be.  I still have some of that, but it is a fraction of what it used to be,… and what a peace that is!

I am so happy to say that I have finally made it (almost) to 2014 all in one peace,… literally,…I now have all my belongings in the state of Florida, but also spiritually,…I am all in one peace…the peace of God.

For 2014, the word God is having me focus on is “hope.”  A few things I hope for or to do for 2014…

-learn to play the drums (random, I know)

-learn calligraphy

-continue my lifestyle changes in eating healthier

-work on getting some of my curriculum published

-find a way to serve in the community regularly outside of the church

I am sure there will be more to come… that is it for now!

Have a Happy New Year, and may the peace of Christ abide in you!

Stop, Look, and Listen

I was a little apprehensive about going into the Christmas season down here at the beach…

One of those Home Alone movies kept popping in my head of the whole family sitting inside watching Christmas movies in ugly sweaters with a palm tree all lit up and them wanting to go home….did that happen in one of those movies?? I think it had to?!  Anyways, I guess I mentally prepared myself for the worst case scenario, since Christmas is my favorite season.  I even bought myself some cranberry candles and spray so I could make myself feel Christmassy…I pulled out reinforcements before I needed to be reinforced.  While I will admit, it has been a little odd listening to Christmas music on days where it was up to 70 degrees…However, this season here in Destin has far exceeded my expectations.

There are quite a few activities that serve to help you get in the spirit of the season as well as focus on the reason for the season…

A couple weeks ago “The Church of Destin,” aka all the churches in the area, got together to have a night of Christmas music.  There was something for everyone… A rock song, opera, southern gospel style music, caroling with out instruments, a choir, pianist, quartette, and even a little bit of Jamaican themed Christmas music.

It was awesome!  I feel like I have lived in quite a few cities, and I have never lived in a community that is so welcoming of churches coming together as one church.  I have been to three events in my 90+ days of living here where the churches bound together to celebrate Christ together.  That is pretty awesome.  I have never seen anything like it.  To see Baptists, Methodists, Assembly of God, Non Denom all under one roof and for it to be a regular annual activity,…that is amazing.  Truly a sign of the Lord at work in this community.

That is just the beginning.  There are parades in Fort Walton and Destin and the surround cities.  There is even one neighborhood in Fort Walton that takes a weekend and has these enormous light displays that sometimes sync up with the music on the radio.  At night the families in the neighborhood all pull out their fire pits and tailgating tents and cook out while people drive through the neighborhood.  It is so neat because it is not some rando thing you pay to drive through that someone spends the whole year working on, but it is neat because it is so family oriented and done by families.  Check out this nativity scene from the neighborhood… it was beautiful.

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Even the malls and outlets all put out there Christmas lights and trees,…I just stood and stared at this tree.  Yes, there is palm trees in it too…but where is there not palm trees here?  But these are not like the palm trees from Home Alone. They are happy palm trees that kind of accent the Christmas tree making it stand out more. Kinda cool and different.

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Tree at the Destin Commons

Then at DUMC, we have had two weekends that were special…one for a children’s Christmas musical and then another morning where the choirs and orchestra come and do a contadda.  Both were amazing and both groups have been working on their pieces since the beginning of the school year!  In our student ministry, we had Christmas parties for the band and tech, a night of worship, and SNeLf.  Young adults…more Christmas parties with White Elephant games and all.

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SNeLf

All that to say, I am sooo ready for Christmas!  I have enjoyed being able to see and take part in so many different outlets that point to Christ and reminding us of how His one second of deciding to step off the throne of grace and come to earth literally changed everything for us.

Things are so busy that I see how if you don’t stop a moment to actually look, listen and take in what is really happening, you might just miss the whole point of all these things.  I sure hope that as much as this community has blessed me this season through their celebrating that it is blessing those who are just here for the season and those who are unbelievers or half hearted believers.  Even if people for some reason don’t get it…it won’t be because this community didn’t try.  To me the messages have been crystal clear.  This community has done the opposite of “politically correct.”  Which, ironically is exactly what our Savior often times was…even from the get go His birth wasn’t “politically correct.”  At the same time…it is nothing but correct. Well done, community of faith. Well done, Destin.  May your joy for the Lord be like a flame that has been fanned.

Merry Christmas!

Worship Stew

When I was in college and interning with a youth group, the youth ministry always referred to something they did with the high school students during the school year called Worship Stew.  It always sounded like such a cool idea. Essentially, it consists of everyone doing some quiet time and discerning a word from God for them.  Then bringing all those together to the group and sharing it (putting your ingredient in the pot).  After that they take some time to discuss and see what the Lord seems to be saying collectively.  I never got to experience it myself.  However, I have always kind of stocked it away in my mental files to use for the future.

Well, it appears that the future is now.  🙂  At DUMC, the young 1474643_10100114783595097_49013160_nadults fall under my umbrella.  We have something called Downpour that meets on Wednesday nights after youth small groups from 7:30-9:00pm.  Usually we do a series of some sort.  However, since this is kind of a weird month with all the holiday’s and such I had an open week between our last series and our Christmas party.  So I thought, why not try Worship Stew?  I modified it to fit our circumstances, age group, and location that we meet.

I am going to put the directions below that I wrote in case you would like to try it with your small group, youth group, leadership team, family, or just try it personally.  I hope you will give this a try!

Worship Stew:

We spent some time in worship before the activity singing about 4 songs.  Entering into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise is a wonderful way to start out trying to seek Him.

We kept the lighting low to help keep the mood intimate..something about fluorescent lighting just doesn’t promote inspirational thoughts.

After that, I told everyone to find a comfortable spot alone. We have an area with lots of couches, a prayer corner, computer room with couches and chairs, and then my office has bean bags, couch etc.

Each person got a piece of paper with instructions, scripture typed out and a pen.

I picked out three different sets of scripture…just ones I thought might go together a little bit but not necessarily that cross reference.  I picked Psalm 23, Matthew 1:18-25, and Romans 8:31-39.

For each set of scripture they were given these instructions.

  1. Read it.
  2. Read it out loud.  I know this may seem awkward since other people are in the room, but sometimes it is good to hear yourself speak the word of God. It has a tendency to make it come alive in a different way.
  3. Reread it and circle or underline any words or phrases that stand out to you.

Then on the sheet, it told them to take some time and see what is in common between the three sets of scriptures that they had underlined or circled.

Next was simply to ask yourself the question, what is the Holy Spirit trying to say to you?

At the front of the stage, I had all sorts of pictures of different things.  Several years ago I got some cards from Walmart with different pictures on them and cut off the wording part (a clown stuck in a trash can, baby, ocean scene, polar bear with it’s head in the water, a person on a roller coaster, etc).  They were then to pick out a picture that represented what God was saying to them.  I did tell them to be prepared to share why they had picked that picture.

This all took about 30 minutes.  The group collectively thought they would of liked more time for this process.  I would suggest that if you do 3 sets of scripture to allow more time or pick shorter scripture or maybe just pick 2 sets of scripture.  It is up to you and your time though!

We then all gathered up in a circle and reflected together on what we all had circled and underlined on our scripture sections.  Also, we shared any other random insights we may of had.

Then everyone shared what picture they had and how it represented what the Lord had been revealing to them that night.

As we all heard from one another there were a couple common themes that were evident.  Honestly, the themes I thought would pop out to everyone weren’t the ones that we discussed.  That is kind of the cool way the Lord works, right?  He always goes to the real issues!  We then talked about what we thought He was trying to say to us through those truths.

It was a really neat process, and again, a great way to seek the Lord, grow as a group, share and still have fun!  Our group wants to do it a couple times a semester.

The Lord always has something cooking!  We just have to figure out our ingredient to donate to the stew!

Enjoying the Time

Timing is pretty important.

The most well written joke isn’t good if you don’t hit the punch line at just the right moment.

If something that is good to say is said at the wrong time, then it is just all wrong all together.

No matter how much you have studied for a test, if the teacher doesn’t give you enough time to complete it, then you are up a creek with out a paddle.

If you have an interview but you show up late, you could risk not getting the job.

Maybe you have been given a wonderful opportunity, but you take too much time weighing the options.  Then, the opportunity passes you by and you no longer have that option.

We notice the people in our lives who arrive early and stay late.

There is nothing like having a friend that you know that you can text or call at anytime day or night.

Even the time of the year is important. The seasons all have a specific purpose.  In the winter, trees around us die.  In the spring new growth appears and blooms.  In the summer the trees become full and shady.  In the fall, they rust change colors and fall away.  If the plants didn’t go through this process they might would just stay dead, not have enough nutrients to keep blooming, or limbs get too heavy to hold the leaves.

In Ecclesiastes 3, it talks about timing saying,

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

I think it is important to analyze these “times” and figure out which one you are in for this season of your life.  I was talking with a good friend last night, and each time we talk we usually take a few minutes and talk about “what is God saying to you right now?”  As we were talking, I realized I have changed seasons.  I am now in a season of “gathering stones.”  I was telling her, it is almost as if God has said, “get your life in order.”  It is as if I took a page in a coloring book and I have been just coloring my little heart out.  Now God is saying, “Good job Caroline, now erase the colors that are outside the lines.” I am learning that the best way for me to serve the Lord is by being a good me.  For me that looks like actually scheduling an every 6 month teeth cleaning, actually going grocery shopping instead of eating out because of convienience, making budgets and sticking to it, organizing my office, taking time to rest, doing things that make me happy like having coffee with a friend, painting or going to the beach, increasing my knowledge by reading something I haven’t before, consulting with other ministers, learning to play the drums (a goal for 2014), being present in the moment and knowing that the Lord is with me all the time.

Every time is different, but every time is needed and good. The word says that.  There is purpose in each time and season. It may not make sense at the time as to why you are in that season, but obedience is key.  Walking humbly in obedience.  The other big thing, is enjoying the season.  Whatever it is, chances are He is molding you to be more like Him in some way during it or equipping you so that you can serve Him better.

So take the time to enjoy that time!

I concur

I ran across 2 different blogs talking about the traits you should be praying and looking for in a future spouse.

Having several weddings to go to this year, a bachelorette weekend this week for a friend, and then talking with other friends that are currently wading in the treacherous waters of pursuing or waiting to pursue relationships… I found both of these blogs to of said it well…and I must say that “I concur.”

I am a list person in general.  However, I threw out my future husband list several years ago because I felt like I was putting God in a box on that subject.  Knowing God, sometimes He shows up in unexpected ways and forms. The reason I feel comfortable posting these blogs is because… they are Biblically based, and not fleshly desires but Godly desires.  It is definitely something to consider.  I want to share the resources for those still in the same boat as me or wanting to raise students in how to view relationships!

The Husband List: 12 Non-negotiables http://sheismore.com/the-husband-list-12-non-negotiables/

The Wife List: 10 Qualities http://goodguyswag.com/the-wife-list-10-qualities/

Encounter

We are just a few days away from Encounter 2013!  I am so excited for this fall retreat!

Encounter 2013

Encounter 2013

Several months ago… like in January actually, the Lord gave me this theme: Shine.  At the time, I was brainstorming for a Discovery Weekend for Trinity.  Even though I had ideas for this theme…it was like the Holy Spirit just put up a halting hand and said “wait.”  That has happened before, and I have a folder that I usually just jot down the thoughts, visions, or words, and stock it away for later when I feel the Lord says it is the right time.  Well, at that particular time I was irritated because the ideas had excited me.  However, I was obedient and set the theme aside and went with something else.

I knew when I was interviewing that I would implement a fall retreat that included middle school and high school students…and that I wanted it to just be DUMC Youth there…not other churches…just a time set aside in the fall (before it gets really cra cra with the holidays) for the youth to get away, retreat from school, home situations, disconnect, and encounter the Lord and fellowship with each other.  As I started praying about the theme and getting to know the situations our students encounter, Shine came up again.  The more I prayed about it, the more it seemed like that theme was obviously meant for “such a time as this.”  So, I went back to my little trusty folder and pulled out what I already had and got to work!

I am so please to say that we will be talking about being lights in darkness from Matthew 5:14-16.

We will be headed to Panama City Beach and staying at Laguna Christian Beach Retreat.  A few things to look forward to… water front location, heated pool, bball court overlooking the water, volleyball, ping pong, catered food (known for their fried chicken), beach worship, crazy games, dancing, small groups, team building activities, and maybe even some surprises. 😉  I am looking forward to getting to know these students and leaders.  I am also looking forward to the worship.  Keaton Tucker, one of our worship leaders at DUMC, has organized a band and agreed to play for the weekend, and I will be speaking at the sessions this year since we are all still getting to know each other!

All that to say, I can not wait.  We meet up at the church on Friday at 5:30pm and will return right after church lets out on Sunday at 1pm.

Today is the last day to register,… so you still have a couple more hours if you would like to… click here http://www.destinumc.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=130329 and you can register!

My current prayer for the weekend is that the Lord would set such a fire in the students hearts that they would never get over it.  That they would be impressed by Jesus, and that the flame would be fanned.

Please keep us in your prayers this weekend! 🙂

 

Captain In Charge

The last week has been cra, cra. 5th Quarter, Halloween Hoedown, the norm retinue, and a retreat next weekend. Whew!

In the midst of all this, I somehow had some down time in the past week to go to a movie.  I went and saw Captain Phillips.  If you haven’t seen it, let me tell you…it is in-tense.  I knew the outcome of the movie since it is a true story, however, half way through the movie I found myself googling the story just to double check that I had the right one in mind.

There were several things that spoke to my spirit as I was watching the movie.  I don’t know if it was designed to do so or not, but it did.

Captain Phillips knew in his knower that he needed to tighten up on security.  He even felt led to do drills.  I thought that was significant because often times when the enemy presses in, we know in our knower that he is coming.  Sometimes we prepare like Captain Phillips tried to and sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes when we do prepare, it’s like the crew in the movie, we go through the motions because it is what we are supposed to do, but we don’t do it with zeal.  Then when the actual enemy does attack we spaz because it is the real deal.  We have to prepare like it is a the real thing… all the time.

Something else that stood out to me was that when Captain Phillips was in the get away boat with his captors  I find it kind of humorous that the Somoli dude thinks he can captain the boat.  They have a real life capatin of a gigantic ship sitting right beside them.  Instead of asking for help in the horrible currents, he has to do it his way,…which resulted in people getting sea sick, angry, and fatigued.

I was thinking about how oftentimes, when things get busy and hectic, we forget that even in the midst of that,…we aren’t the captain.  We like to take the drivers seat and keep pressing on until we feel sick, angry, and fatigued.  Instead, we have to continually surrendor to Him that HE is the captain in charge, and HE can guide and safely direct us right into the current we need to be in to reach landfall,…safely, restored, and even with energy.

Furthermore, at the end of the movie, Captain Phillips was in the midst of being died up to basically be beaten and killed inside the awful little boat with the captives.  This is about the time I started googling the ending. Anyway, the captain actually starts to write out a goodbye letter to his family.  He sincerely thinks it’s game over for him.  However, he knew that the national guard and marines are literally outside his boat and even attached by a rope.  He still thinks he is done.  Right about the time he is literally fighting for his life…it’s literally game over for those captors.  The captain is just in complete shock.  They get him to safety and to a doctor immediately.  The doctor says, “Sir, are you ok?”  In his shocked state, he just starts sobbing.  He can hardly breathe.  The doctor just starts repeating “deep breathes, we are going to get you cleaned up.”  

How much like God is that?? Like really. So many times we get to the point that we think we can’t hold on any more…it is the 11th hour, and then…the rescue.   We are in shock and God is speaking,…“breathe, let’s get you all cleaned up.”

It all comes down to trust and surrender.  Surrender really is a wonderful thing…and boy, am I glad I don’t have to be the Captain…

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Some Nuggets

I’m 5 weeks in to working in sunny Destin, & I have already been through 1 whole can of hair spray (gotta keep my big hair in place I guess), had both my mom & my step mom come visit, my boss taught me to paddle board in the bay, I saw a starfish, I’ve been to about 3 concerts, & that’s not to mention the ministry that I’ve gotten to be a part of here!

Lots has happened, & God has been revealing Himself to me in new ways each & every single day. I have been writing a lot even though I haven’t been posting on here much. Sometimes you just want to treasure those nuggets of what The Lord is teaching you before you share it, ya know?

So here they are… Some nuggets (as Mama T would say).

As I have been working through a personal study of Nehemiah, it has been intriguing to see how some parts of the Bible echo each other. The stories do. The people face different battles, but really they are all one in the same. In private God had given Nehemiah a mission (Nehemiah 2:12). I find it intriguing that later on in chapter 6, just as people torment him and try to distract him from his purpose, you can almost hear his mental sigh as he recognizes the enemy at work. Right then, he sends a message which I just love“I am doing a great work, and I can not come down from it.” You can almost hear the tink tink tink tink chip chip chip as he is working on that wall and instead of him chanting “I think I can, I think I can” he is chanting “I am doing a great work and I can not come down from it, I am doing a great work and I can not come down from it.” There is a bigger battle going on for Nehemiah; it’s a God sized battle, and really not his to fight. Just all he knew was that he prayed, listened, and then he needed to be obedient.

Then you skip over to the story of Jesus with the disciples…He is teaching. There are people, and they are hungry…that sounds pretty typical, right? He has nothing to feed them. But behold, He is Jesus. He will create something, right? I mean He is the creator, why not create a blessing? Duh. So his topsy tervy faithful friends called his disciples are there with him trying to gather food among the people. Just as I heard Beth Moore describe this story, she mentioned that it was almost as if Jesus was saying, “Think bigger boys!” When she said that, I thought you can almost visualize Jesus leaning forward like a football coach hitting his legs pleading, “Come on! Think bigger boys!” He then precedes to have them physically pass out the food, feeling the weight of those baskets of fish and loaves, to see first hand the miracle that their master was doing before their very eyes. It was a Jesus sized problem, and really not theirs to fight. They just needed to pray over the food, listen to what Jesus said, and then be obedient.

I sat down with a good friend of mine Karen Thompson, the mom of my old boss and wife of my new boss, to discuss prayer a couple of weeks ago. We are in the middle of a series at dumc youth called “Game On.” We are studying the book of Daniel and talking about the different things that kept Daniel grounded in his faith…like God’s word, prayer, etc. I asked Miss Karen to come share some of her testimony and stories of how God has worked in her life through intercessory prayer during one of our lessons a few weeks ago. As she was describing to me the key principals of intercessory prayer over lunch & then she reiterated at youth… the same three words kept coming up… pray, listen, obey. I told her then, how I had started this blog and those were the key principals I was seeing in my current personal study. It looks like those are obviously Biblical principals as you can see them echoed time and time again.

Ultimately, these stories from the past and present remind us that our God is a capital “B” Big God, and we need to have Big faith. How dare us not think bigger of Him. After hearing a song “Whom Shall I Fear?” and relooking at the story he talks about in the video below, you almost can picture the angel armies around people like Nehemiah as he works on the old wall and around the disciples as they pass out food to all the thousands of people. How things appear is not as they are. We don’t have to think one dimensional. He is a big, big God asking us to have big, big faith…no matter what the circumstance or battle is you are facing. He does not change in His greatness. We just have to pray, listen, and obey… There’s some nuggets The Lord has given me to chew on right now.

Pray, listen, obey, pray, listen, obey.