Author Archives: liveloveserve

I will not change the world.

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God has been teaching me something very simple: I will not change the world.
Jesus will.

He doesn’t call us to change the world.
He does call us to reach out to those He brings across our path.
Reach, love and point them to Him – the only one who can change their world.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and the number of people asking for help.
It’s hard to drive through the dirt roads of a third world country and not be able to scoop up every hurting child lining the streets and take them home, feed them, clothe them, take care of them.
It’s difficult to walk through a park in Tampa and give out sandwiches, knowing hunger will return tomorrow.

What do we do when the needs are greater than we can imagine?
Follow the example of Jesus, who always stopped for one.
One bleeding woman. One blind man. One possessed boy. One sick girl. One paralyzed friend. One dead brother.
One widow in the neighborhood, one single mom serving your table, one family at the gas station, one man on the side of the road, one struggling dad in the office, one friend who received bad news. Not the world – just one. Silently begging for someone to stop….to care…to help.

The world is being changed for the homeless man who receives a meal and a blanket on a cold night, reminded that he matters.
The world is being changed for the family wondering if they can pay for groceries, that receive a phone call to schedule delivery of a week’s worth of meals.
The world is being changed for kids in the local foster system that have been welcomed into families and are learning about love and Jesus.
The world is being changed for 28 children in Dominican Republic who have been through turmoil, but will now have a stable home.
The world is being changed for 50 orphans and caregivers who are becoming Ambassadors of Jesus in Haiti.

On our own, we have nothing to offer to a world in need. But thank God, he hasn’t asked us to save the world.
He only asks us to be available – and then invites us to join Him as He changes people’s worlds.

I don’t think I could ever explain how thankful I am to have pastors, leaders, friends & a church community in my life who have set an incredible example of saying YES, being AVAILABLE, and WATCHING in awe as God works. May we always leave with someone wanting more of Jesus.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

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People will fail, He never will

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I got some disappointing and sad news from a friend yesterday. A few words in a text message that had the power to shake up my world. I can’t believe how much it has impacted me in the past 24 hours…and maybe its a little silly. There are some people in life that you kinda expect to let you down. But what happens when it comes from a place you least expect it?

Do you have a person, or people in your life who seem like a real life Jesus, walking and talking and living in human form?
There are people that God has brought into my life that have loved me, led me, taught me, prayed for me, cried with me, encouraged me. People who have followed Jesus so closely, His love and grace passionately overflows to everyone they encounter.

There are some people that just seem untouchable. Unshakable. Pillars of strength and faith.
The “go to” people that you can always count on when the rest of the world goes crazy.

When they fall, to say it causes disappointment is beyond an understatement.
If they can’t stand firm, do the rest of us have any hope? How does it happen?
When you know people are praying and pleading and crying out…and it doesnt change, whats next?
I hate that my mind immediately went to the negative. If they are defeated, the rest of us have no chance. I know its lies, I know its not the case…but honestly thats where my heart and my thoughts went.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I’m seeking to take those thoughts captive. I’m praying. I’m saddened for the lives being affected. I’m over my selfish pouting and am hoping God leads me to a way I can help. I know nothing is beyond reconciliation. A friend reminded me that hope isn’t lost and that He holds all things together.

So today, I am reminded:
* We are all broken at the core and hopeless without Jesus. Not just for salvation, but for our daily lives.
* Don’t allow footholds, leave no room for the enemy. Cling closely to God’s word.
* We NEED community. Desperately. The best tool of the enemy is isolation. Isolation leads to failure, every time.
* Fight. We are all daily in a battle that is very real.
* All people are human. We have faults and will fail, but He never will.

Every choice we make today is creating our tomorrow.
Look to Jesus, not people. He holds all things together.

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The earth is filled with His Glory.

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My first morning in Haiti, I sat on a concrete slab on the edge of the orphanage property…listened, watched, and prayed.

The kids were scattered and busy doing chores and getting ready for school. They has already spent time worshipping and praying together to start their day. Some were carrying buckets of water back & forth, some preparing breakfast, some helping the younger kids. Roosters were crowing, dogs barking. “Mama” was sweeping – which became a familiar and comforting morning sound.

I have been reading through Psalms for awihle, and this day I came to a familiar passage that stopped me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
  All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.

Psalm 86:8-10

ALL nations He has made will bring Him glory. That includes Haiti. He made this country.  I began wondering, God – how can this place bring you glory? A nation that is known for it’s history of evil, a place & people that have been broken and damaged by disasters and disease. Where are you working here, God?

Later that afternoon, He answered so clearly.

As I painted a fresh coat of pink paint to cover earthquake damaged walls in one of the kids rooms, James joined me. As we painted, he began to sing. Softly, but I recognized the chorus as he worshipped in english:

“Holy is the Lord, God Almighty, the earth is filled with His glory.”

The earth is filled with His glory. The earth includes Haiti. His Glory is there, His glory was in the room with me that day, His glory is in James. His glory is in each of us…we didn’t just bring it to Haiti, it was already there.

James is a 14 year old orphan who has been raised by Pastor Lucien along with his brother Stivenson and sister Nirva. Sitvenson is now at the Dominican Republic orphanage, teaching the younger kids to play music and a worship leader in their church. Nirva has finished school and is working and helps support the orphanage with her skills and a heart to raise up the next generation. James is following in the footsteps of his older brother & sister. Pastor Lucien dreams and prays for young people to rise up and become leaders in churches, businesses, and in their country. The cycle has been broken, and God’s glory is clearly seen.

Through God’s people, the nation of Haiti IS glorifying His name.

 

 

Ready to go!

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Packing & Praying party complete! A new adventure awaits! New country, new language, new names & faces…same family, same hearts, same hopes.

Just finished packing and praying with Haith mission team! It’s a crazy feeling right before a trip – excited & scared all at the same time. Expectant & hopeful.

My prayer for this week is that through this trip, God would clearly do a new work in & through me. That I wouldn’t compare to previous trips. I know that God’s word is living & active and always accomplishes it’s purpose.

God, help us to be faithful to your word & your spirit. Give us unity as a team to accomplish your purposes and love your people this week. Do a new work in us and through us. Don’t allow anybody on this team to remain unchanged. Let us live and love so that everyone we enounter will desire more of YOU, not us.

Birthday Wishes

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This birthday, I know I am blessed.
I am thankful.
I am in need of nothing.
Even my wants are provided for.

It was so great to celebrate together with some of my oldest friends, and some of the newest. I’m so thankful for what each of you mean and how God has brought us together at different seasons of life.

So here are my two biggest Birthday WISHES…

Wish #1
For these children to have a home! We are almost there! I’m thankful for the friends, family and strangers that God has brought together to make this happen. So amazing to see the power of being united for a purpose bigger than ourselves! Not statistics, not just names, not just another need in the world. They are kids who sing with joy and dance like other children. They pray passionately, they love hugs, they laugh and play. They have futures that can be transformed and hopes & dreams that can be fulfilled. (If you haven’t been able to give yet, or you missed the party – there’s still time! You can give online: www.agreatchurch.net/missions/dominican.asp

Wish #2
For you, (yes you, my friend) to fully know the love, grace, forgiveness, peace, purpose, and hope found in the journey of following Jesus. Not religion, not going to church, not tradition – just Jesus. We need Him. He invites each of us into a relationship with the God that created us. He loves us & pursues us. Not to give us rules, but to give us life. Do you know Him?

Jesus beckons…

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“Jesus beckons us to come. If we stay focused on him, we will be able to go anywhere and do whatever is required of us. If we take our eyes off him and stare at the storm, at the danger, we will surely sink. We will never go to the millions trapped out there in darkness, without water, suffering abuse, disease, famine, loneliness or hopelessness. Fear and faith cannot coexist. He doesn’t ask us to go (as long as) or (if) or (after) he removes all danger and takes away all fear. He asks us to go (in spite of) and (even if) and (anyway). He says simply: Believe. Go with me. ” – Christine Caine