Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Be slow to speak, quick-speaking mouth.
Your pride and self-seeking are fading.
Purity and life echo from you.

Filth and dust, dirt and "nothingness"
They don't belong.
Filled with peace and grace,
You can speak life.

Nothing else is your task.
Source of comfort and life,
Inspire these lips.
Lips, be mistaken for His.

(Life Form.)

Civil War Chapel.

I'm so grateful for the beautiful prayer time our team had this morning. When I asked the Lord who our team should pray for, He spoke "orphans and widows". He led me to James 1:17-29 (Read it! I even linked it for you :), and during prayer, the Holy Spirit kept bringing me back to this... just wanted to share some of it with you today.

Back in December, an arsonist burned down the U.S Christian Commission's Civil War Chapel. The small wooden church sat only a block away from the downtown square of Gettysburg as a "symbolic reminder of the faith and courage of those who fought to preserve a nation" (prayer chapel website). The buildings surrounding the prayer chapel were damaged, too. Including a house, a coffee shop, and apartments for people unable to afford housing on their own. 
(google images)
On a prayer walk a few weeks ago, Gerry, Luke and I stopped in at the USCC Museum downtown and I got to meet founder John Wega for the first time. He graciously showed us the building and shared with us his plans for rebuilding the chapel and completing the museum. My heart has been hurting for John as he's come to mind lately. After only listening to him speak for a few minutes, it was very clear he's a man with great vision, passion for his cause, and perseverance in the face of some serious discouragement. The building that the museum will be in must date back to the Civil War. The brick is beautiful and the ceilings are intricate and so full of character. Both have been covered several times through the years, in efforts to keep heating costs low, I'd assume. Exposing both would also be pretty pricey... but the charm and historic character would be absolutely incredible. So today I'm praying for provision for those projects and praying for John, too. Check out the website and join with me in that... it is an incredible story.

There's something else about the fire that really stuck out to me today. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers who sold him into slavery years before, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." I think that same truth exists here in this situation. What satan intended for evil: the arson, displaced families, discouragement for the cause, God can use for good. He will make good out of it. The circumstances of the lost chapel and apartments seems pretty bleak. But God is not defeated. His heart is for the orphans and widows, those who have experienced great loss, and those whose situations seem hopeless. A better location is on the horizon for the chapel and more apartments for families are on the way... He is so good!

I'm full of hope right now sharing with you a piece of the US Christian Commission's story. God has good things in store and blesses faithfulness. I'm believing the new Chapel will be a symbol of God's everlasting faithfulness: from the beginning, to the civil war, to today and forever. 

Maybe there's something in your life that's feeling a little hopeless. Maybe there's something in you that it seems satan is constantly beating you up with. You can take back what he's stolen from you. Whatever it is. God's heart is for restoration and He desires to restore you. His heart is for you. Arson, discouragement, seemingly impossible circumstances... none of them can stop God.
(Life Form.) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Little Update.

Well, April is flying by.Yesterday the weather reached 82 degrees in Gettysburg. It was a beautiful day. I walked out of the church completely unaware that I was about to walk into summer. Within a few minutes, my homework supplies for the day were moved out of an office and into the gazebo out front. 

It's hard to believe that summer is so soon. Gettysburg Master's Commission has only about 3 and a half weeks left before we travel to Armenia. There will be worship festivals, leadership trainings, and relationship building... lots of Jesus-sharing :) It will be a good time. The way the trip has come together was unexpected and even uncomfortable some days... but that's another post-- a good 'hope-filled' one, too! God has good things planned and I am so thankful to be part of it. When May 22nd rolls around, we'll wrap up our first year together and graduate from GMC.

Summer plans are being made and, right now, really in need of some open doors and God's provision. 
I'll share those plans a little later once the details come together. :)

Kimmy, Kriston, Caitlyn, and I had a beautiful prayer time this morning. Our time was spent praying for the program, for one another, and for the next month and a half. There was a really incredible sense of support among the four of us as we stood in the middle of the sanctuary. We prayed in agreement with God's perfect plans and thanked him for all He has done in this year-- basking in the truth that it is His and the enemy can't steal that from us. There seemed to be a theme of God equipping and empowering each of us today for the next season. I love when He does that. 

It really is an honor to be able to pray over each one of those girls (and an incredible blessing to be prayed for by them). God is really good at bringing teams together. So excited about where God is sending us all after this year-- maybe different directions, definitely on an adventure with Him. Our last 20 minutes were spent spread out across the sanctuary, simply enjoying God's presence and the truth that He enjoys us, too. 

Classes end even before April does. That's hard to believe, too. Planning is happening for Gettysburg Master's Commission's 2011-2012 year.  I am getting really excited thinking about the students who will come to know Jesus more deeply, be transformed, and released for abundant life and ministry in the year ahead. 

I'm especially thankful for the abundant encouragement God is pouring over me this week. Feeling incredibly renewed and ready to boldly move forward. Thank you, Lord. 

(Note: This 'little update' is really not that little... but it could have been much, much longer)

(Life Form.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Need You.

I'm around 15 years old and sitting in the sanctuary of the church I grew up in.
The room is large and open, but I'm closed in and focused-- soaking in the presence of God. My parents are serving at the altar and my siblings are spread throughout the building... but I have a few minutes to just sit and sing. I'm sitting on the purple pew and my posture signifies this is a place of rest. It's a place where I can simply melt from God's love. The week might have been good, or maybe not, but that doesn't really matter right now. I'm full of trust. My eyes are closed and I am set on being with Him. For however many minutes I have in that place of peace... I stay there acknowledging that I am in desperate need of the Lord. This, or something just as sweet, is the song I'm singing:

This song started playing in my quiet time one night last week. A lot of life has felt really complicated lately. I've felt sort of ... messed up and polluted (harsh words, I know). Just kind of broken without knowing where to begin to just get back to being 'Bonnie'. This image came to mind. The one I just described. The image, or memory, of myself was filled with simplicity and innocence... and for only a second I felt like that was just long gone. 

But then God whispered this to me. He said that my very favorite, sweetest moments (just like that one) with Him are available now. So is innocence and purity. I don't belong to Jesus to be stuck in a cycle of looking at how dirty I think I am, nagged by every stubborn stain that I just can't get to go away. He washes me clean.

"I need you more, more than yesterday. 
I need you more, more than words can say. 
I need you more than ever before. I need you, Lord. I need you, Lord.

More than the air I breathe
More than the song I sing
More than the next heartbeat 
More than anything

Lord, as time goes by I'll be by your side. 
Cause I never want to go back to my old life."

Jesus, I'm sorry for my self-dependency. I need you. All my needs are met in you. 

You didn't intend for me to walk around burdened and staring at my stains. But when I'm depending on myself that's all I can do. But you climb under the yoke with me and carry the weight for me. And you've purified me with your own blood. Because I'm in You, there's no stain in me. 

(Life Formations)