In God’s Image

In God's Image

Lord, it’s another beautiful day to sing your praises. The whiteness I see all over is deep and every flake of a single color. It reminds me of how you see all people as equally beautiful. Snowflakes fall in different groupings, some alone, some clumped together, but each one an individual, stunning crystalline work of art. I can see your perfection in every one.

Help us to see your greatest creation that way, Father. Help us see those created in the image of God like a beautiful snowflake that is waiting to be seen and admired. Some fall in the road and get muddy and some land on a branch and catch your glory as they shimmer in the light, but all came down with the same intent, to make the world a beautiful place. Redeem them all my King of Glory and let not one go untouched by your love.

Just like each flake snow melts, not matter how muddy it got when it was here, you separate us and recreate us in your image at the cross. Through the bright blood of Jesus, we become white as snow.

Set Me On Fire! Let the Gospel Live Out Loud!

Lord, don’t let us forget what you paid for! Fill us with the fire that lights our bones into a burning passion to make Jesus known and His mercy shine. Let the righteousness of God prevail in all of us. God! Purify our hearts with the power of grace that sets us free from sin! Kill the lie that we will all keep sinning. Your word says that our new nature CANNOT continue in sin, so if we’re still feeling mastered by sin, take us deeper in surrender to you and free us of that monster. (1 John 3:9) We don’t need to live defeated lives of struggle. When trouble comes, we need to be a people who know who our God is! The gospel doesn’t mean we’re still sinful beings and now we’re just free of the consequences. Jesus declared us DEAD to sin, free of sin itself! We’ll have NONE of it. None of it. Nothing that would mis-represent you should be a part of our day. Let the fear of the Lord leave us in awe and make sin repulsive to us.

When we see those trapped by sin, don’t let us tolerate it in their lives either but show us the enemy behind us and let us battle with and for them for the complete freedom, peace and joy that being joined with You brings. Let truth sing out and let it empower people to live the law without a second thought because their new nature compels them. Father, You are holy. I bow before you and ask you to take every thought or word that would cause you cringe. I want to be like you, holy and full of light with feet of peace and hands of healing. Jesus valued the people in front of him and I do too.

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God, dismantle the lies that give us excuses to be less the the glorious new creations that Jesus paid for us to be on the cross! In our hearts, we know grace doesn’t mean we can continue to be drunk, or continue to look at men or women with an ounce of lust in our hearts. Cleanse our thoughts with your purifying fire that we would never disgrace you before those who don’t believe or set a bad example for those who are weaker.

Heal our land. Heal our churches. God! Purify our minds and our hearts so that we don’t get up wondering how we’ll get through out day. Purify our minds so that we can see what YOU can do through our day. Take us. Push us. Don’t let fear rule our hearts. Fear is a spirit from hell. We are not subject to that Spirit when we are IN CHRIST. We are IN CHRIST, one with him through baptism. We rose with him. He shines and so do we. It is not humble, nor is it LOVE to withhold the truth from the person in front of us, it is cowardly and hateful. Kill that in me Lord. Kill it. Let your love pour out of me and set people free. Let the light just shine out of my eyes and into their soul, then out of your massive love displayed on the cross, move their hearts to conviction let every lie be crushed in their lives.

Jesus said there was going to be a day that it would be too late and He, more than anyone in the Bible, talked about the reality of an eternal hell, but he ALSO talked about the mansions he was going to build for us in heaven, for the time we would be where there is no more pain. There is no in between. No lukewarm. Jesus was crushed but not destroyed and persecuted but not destroyed. He rose, left and gave us his spirit so we didn’t have to look like the world anymore. Thank you for freedom. Thank you for killing the pain of rejection, fear, depression and loneliness. I am alive in You and it is the way I choose to live forever. In my mighty Savior’s name, who’s blood I see on my hands and whose light bathes me in glory. Praise Your holy name forever. Amen.

Love and Serving in Hard Places

What is love? We’re supposed to walk in love, in the midst of it, like warm boots in the deep, wet snow. Love is comfort and security in new places. It is the armor that keeps us firm in places that look like chaos. Love is amazing. It disarms anger, it calms fear it remains true when others fail. It casts hope where hope looks dead.

How far will we let love and compassion take us when we follow Christ? Is there an end of the road on our walk with Christ, where Jesus keeps walking and, even though we feel a tug on our heart, we say, “No, sorry Jesus, that’s not my gift. I’m not ready for that. Find someone else.”  What do you call a “follower” at that point- a stopper? Stoppers lead to clogged drains in the ministry flow. This isn’t a guilt trip to move you to do any one particular thing, it’s a reminder that we need to take that step in faith, not matter what the task is. Followers continue to follow, even when it looks like they are not able, or not equipped or utterly helpless. When a follower is helpless in their own strength, they then have to look to the one who they are following and trust that when they don’t know the answer, He will. They rely on God’s power and not their own. (You do know that I’m preaching to myself here, don’t you?)

In the parable of the talents, Jesus makes an example of three servants who received different amounts of talent. In the story, the talents were money, but they represent any gift God has given us. We sometimes begin with a night volunteering, an encouraging card, a few dollars, or maybe God reminds us of a need when we notice that coffee is on sale. Those little thoughts are the parable coming alive through the Holy Spirit. If we are faithful in these small things, according to the parable, we receive more. The more could be so many things, new gifts, talents, money or openings in your time.

When you use THOSE wisely, God says, “Hey! Here’s someone I can work with and trust with what I’ve given.” He opens the storehouse of gifts and talents again. The hardest part of the story is the part that has caused me to repent of many times. It’s when Jesus goes back to the one who just kept his talent hidden because he was afraid do anything with it that we must pay attention. We hear so much about grace and mercy, we often just think we can just go on and expect continued blessings even when we’re disobedient. The kingdom really doesn’t operate that way. When the servant hid his little talent, Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, I understand, it’s ok. I’ll just give you more anyway.” He said exactly this, “You wicked and slothful servant!…Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:14-30

You see. Love costs something. It’s a valuable gift. People die every day. Love moves beyond noticing that someone looks a little down. It looks past anger. It looks into a bad day and cares about why. Love sits down next to that person and asks why.  When love sits down and hears a hard story, it asks God what talent he has that may be used in this situation. It could be finding an answer, sharing wisdom or praying. When love doesn’t know what to do, it calls on the one with five or ten talents to come in to the picture and show him what more experienced love can do. The point is that love never does nothing nor does it think that it can do nothing. 

Sometimes it costs us time to learn how to help in deeper ways at that point and we ask, “Am I willing to make the sacrifice? This may disturb my family life. I’m not sure I’m equipped for that. I’ve never done anything like that before. Isn’t it dangerous? What if………what if…….. what if……what if”

Who’s voice is that? God’s, yours or the devil’s. Maybe these verses will help identify the source and reassure you that the only weapon we need is love.

 1 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit NOT of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

The better question is this…”What if I DON’T do something.” Down at Project Warm, a winter weather amnesty shelter we spend much time at, livers are failing, families are broken, heart attacks happen, feet get frostbite, alcohol numbs pain and unforgiveness and self-hatred batter people on a daily basis – but what love and the power of God can do!  Friendships blossom, people find Jesus, sharing occurs and we war for each other in the battles we face to keep the place running every night. To that, there is no limit. Prayer is moving those mountains for the ones we can reach and testimonies of His faithfulness are being repeated at devotion time. Have you heard a homeless person testify of God’s grace, provision or even physical healing in his life that week? Come and hear that too! Love will grow in your heart and faith for your own struggles.

We all start somewhere on the journey of greater love and action. I promise you that jumping into a completely new environment, we don’t all start out feeling like superman or Jesus. New environments take time to adjust to but if we persevere in love, how we see that environment changes. We get burdened, like Jesus was, to BE the help that people need. It’s not on our own strength. We have the tools Jesus left us and he directs us IF we are available to learn and seek Him – if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone. Jesus didn’t have a comfort zone. He saw what people didn’t see because they looked at the outside and not the inside. People look at the consequence of sin. Jesus healed the hurt. Every problem had a root and Jesus was a good gardener. He had a vision for every person he met. He knew who He created them to be. He will show YOU who he created the people around you to be. Ask him and you’ll love people better and see the good instead of the things that now annoy or scare you. Love brings a great response from people.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Are you willing to use that talent you have? Want to spend it? Our God says “Nothing is impossible for those who believe.” We believe that. When compassion hits us, and our sense of injustice at someone’s condition boils our blood and stirs our heart to righteous anger, we have a God who says, “I’m in that with you. Let’s go.”  At that point we humbly say, “Lord, what you do you need me to do.”  Ask him that today. “Lord, what do you need me to do?” 

 

Forgiving Yourself

I’m always amazed that God choose to love me. I was, and still sometimes am, hard hearted, stubborn, selfish, and unaware of how big His heart is for me and those around me. Then, I think of Jesus on the cross. If God can forgive those who laughed as he hung there, he can forgive me. The harder question I had to answer was, “Can I forgive me? Can I forgive myself for what I’ve done? I was cruel. I denied knowing him. I broke a vow. I treated others who loved me with unkindness. I stole. I hurt. I failed to act in some way I thought I should. I’ve loved myself more than others. I should pay for those things, I thought.”

Jesus didn’t see things that way. He went through hell so we could be free of hell. People he loved abandoned him. His neighbors and fellow Jews, the people he came to rescue, spit on him. His church leaders asked the Romans to crucify him. As his friends all ran out of fear for themselves, all he could say was “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

Why didn’t they know? They didn’t see things like God sees them. Often we don’t see ourselves as God, the Father, sees us. We see through lenses of shame, condemnation, guilt, and pride. All those come from the same enemy that deceived Adam and Eve. The goal of our enemy, Satan, is that he keeps us from knowing who we are created to be! He wants us separated from the Father who loves us enough to sacrifice himself. That enemy wants us to feel defeated every day, just like HE has been defeated at the cross. His only power is to get us to look at him. If we know who we become at the cross, free and forgiven, we cancel his authority in our lives.

One day, God woke me up out of my self-punishment phase and said, “Didn’t Jesus pay for that? Wasn’t what he did enough? Do you think you can add to what My Son paid at the cross by your self-pity? Do you know what “redeemed” means? No… I really didn’t. I knew God loved my but I didn’t forgive myself.

Redeemed:

  1. To compensate for past poor performance (He paid the price of my poor performance. I’m not guilty of it anymore. My debt is cancelled.)
  2.  To regain possession of (God wanted me as a possession!)
  3. To exchange. ( He exchanged my old heart and mind for a new one that could understand his love for me and live without shame, fear and condemnation.)

 

God defeated death to end the curse on the world. He was saying to me, “I want to know you. I want you to come home to me, as a child comes home to their Father. My arms are open.”

 

I cried tears of joy! I had been deceived. I didn’t think I could forgive myself. Others were lovable, but not me.I hadn’t given myself permission to receive the healing love of God. I felt like I was an exception.  It’s easy to think that God is continually reminding us that we have sinned, but it was the enemy who wanted me to feel guilt, shame and condemnation. He told me it was humility, but true humility  is knowing that Jesus is our righteousness, all our works are like filthy rags, no matter what they are, so Jesus paid the price to cover them all. Truth said, “If God says I am redeemed, then who am I to think I am more right than God to keep counting myself under judgement? Until then, I didn’t get that Jesus hung there so my mindset could be changed and I could be free to step out of that identity of my old ways. He died so I could die to that old nature.

 
His perfect love on the cross casts out fear and condemnation. I could no longer hold myself accountable for something God had forgiven.
God’s love was big enough for even me.

 

Today, no matter what we have done. God declares, “You are worth it! I want you to receive the gift of forgiveness and begin fresh today.” His goal is always to help us find freedom, just like our goal for our children is always that things turn around for the good for them.

Healed by Releasing the Holy Spirit

Awesome testimony today! I can explain this one fully, because it happened to me. I’ve been suffering from this pain under my lower rib cage for some time and it seemed to be like something getting bigger and more noticeable. It sometimes seized and cramped up when I laid down. I had been ignoring it. This week I was thinking maybe I should go find out what was, but didn’t really want to and I wasn’t very convicted about the need for that. God’s my main health plan, even though I have insurance. I was just starting to think, “Maybe it’s something like a tumor?” My abdomen was a little bloated near my ribs and I felt “thick” like there was an obstacle, when I bent over – with some pain. I had previously thought it was my rib, but it became clearer that it was under it now. I am not one to worry about medical stuff in my own body, so I asked my husband to pray for it and went to bed.

Today in ministry class, we were releasing the Holy Spirit over people and and it was my turn to be prayed over. All one of my classmates did was say, “Come Holy Spirit” over me. We were just practicing observing what it looked like when the Holy Spirit came over someone. It’s amazing how willing the Lord is to come and teach us when we make ourselves available. Man, did he show up! It felt like a weighty presence was on top of me and I had to bend over. I began praying in tongues spontaneously and noticed the girl who’s hand was on me was trembling. I felt power and intensity.

While I was bent over, I started to feel the pain under my ribs. the area of pain began to tighten and swell and swell and swell and pain intensified until it felt like it was going to burst. For a moment i thought, “What if this thing explodes! Surely God wouldn’t let me get hurt.” Then, it just vanished. I don’t know what the thing was, but God does and it’s now gone! Praise him! There is no other life like the pursing God life…. And it is available to all. The best things in life are free! What a great lesson we learned today… Lots of them. God has a big tool box in the Holy Spirit. Praying may not are blessed in this way. Try releasing Holy Spirit over those you love who are sick. Wait for his presence to come and see what happens! Expect it to come. It comes by faith.

2013-11-24, There is no evidence of the pain or lump anymore, even in bed, when it used to cramp when I laid down. God, thank you for loving me! I also have lost 3 pounds and my abdomen is  thinner and has resumed its old shape. I’m so awed by His love for me and the power of relationship with my Father. He is good.

Passing on Spiritual Gifts: Laying on of Hands and Mentoring

There is nothing like being in the company of a lot of people who are abandoned to God’s purposes, or who at least are trying to be. We need the whole body of Christ! Even in our local churches, we don’t always see the complete body and all the gifts of the Spirit are not shared. God promises that those who are hungry will be filled and instructs us to seek in order to find.

I was reminded of Paul and Timothy. Paul imparted gifts and then mentored his followers in the use of those gifts. Those new in their walk had leaders passing on the practices of the faith, not just through laying on of hands, but also in instruction. Every ask questions like, “How exactly do you pray for the sick to get them healed?” or “What does the voice of God sound like if we are, indeed, all sheep and are supposed to be hearing his voice.” I had all those questions and more!

Paul wanted the apostolic teaching and imparting of gifts to continue generationally, just as Jesus did. That is why we have all of these Epistles. They don’t make much sense if you haven’t received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit yet. We don’t all have it from the moment of conversion, as some churches teach. It doesn’t come at confirmation, although it could. It doesn’t come at Baptism, although it could, and it doesn’t come from being the best at Bible studies. I spent most of my life reading the Epistles as history, but when I was imparted by the laying on of hands with a Baptism of Fire, those letters were my life! It was scary. It was wild. I was freaked out! It was like the advice included me.  Jesus was actually teaching ME how to heal the sick, like I was sitting with them. I felt fellowship with the early disciples and understood that we shared a common mission with the same directions. It was a big calling and God had imparted the power to do it, but I was still freaked out.

Ephesians 4:13 “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

As parents, we teach our children how to use tools, like a spoon, a pencil and a computer, but Paul taught his spiritual son, Timothy, how to use the greatest tool of all, Holy Spirit. He sent him to difficult places knowing that he had trained him to be mature. Our goal as parents and as members of the Body of Christ, is to help people reach “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.  Can you picture what that looks like? I know how Jesus walked; He did what He SAW the Father doing, so he saw into God’s heart, then He did miracles that reflected God’s will. He was the visible image of the invisible God and he said we are to grow up into that fullness!

I homeschool my kids and one year when planning time came, I was frustrated about the regular stuff that the world said we should fill our kids with. I wanted to do my best as a parent, so I asked God what I was to focus on over all. He said clearly, “Teach them to connect with My Spirit.” It was the most important parenting advice I’d ever received. Kids are born with spiritual availability until we talk them out of it out of ignorance. The church can actually kill childlike faith by bringing kids into the “real world” of logic and reason. They are naturally supernatural and have the greatest thing, child-like faith. They don’t doubt that they hear God. They just do. They see angels and point at things in the sky as babies. Who knew? I didn’t, until recently. I also lay hands on my children as they are ready to receive and when they are sick. Holy Spirit Band-Aids are free, since Jesus paid for them at the cross.

There is power given through the laying on of hands. Paul received an impartation from God himself and shared it with others. He said he longed to meet with people in person so he could share the gifts he received via laying on of hands. He was the picture of “freely you have received, freely give”. This didn’t just mean share our blessings. The church is called to some really mountain moving action. Here’s the text from Matthew from the mouth of Jesus himself.

Matthew 10:7-8 “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

This is a command of Jesus and it is most certainly included when Jesus also told his disciples to go and make more disciples, teaching them to observe ALL that He commanded them. He also promised to be with them and the future disciples always, unto the end of the age. (Matthew 28:16-20) Sometimes we identify with the pre-Pentecost identity of the disciples, but we should be identifying with the POST-Pentecost life they led. This is the inheritance we have as the body of Christ himself.

I have learned so much from the gifted disciples God has brought me to this year. A Todd White video jumped out at me one day and showed me that God is still doing just what I suspected He should be doing, miracles! My son, moved by the Holy Spirit, said, “Mom, we have to see that guy!” Holy Spirit’s amazing timing placed a conference in my region 3 weeks later where I got to spend 3 days learning what it meant to be a daughter of God in a Kingdom that had power to manifest itself. God would use me because I was in His family. It took courage. It was humbling but I started to step out in faith, ready to fail and ready to see a miracle. Why? Because someone taught me that I could.

This is what Jesus commanded us. Go and teach them to do what I commanded you. Jesus is saying that the disciples received the power to do as Jesus did for them and they were to share it. In the church today, we sometimes feel boastful if we speak of our gifts, but others need to know what we have so we can impart them to the hungry. The laying on of hands isn’t just for ordaining leaders, it is also in the context of passing on spiritual gifts. Then, those who pass them on, show us how to use them.

There are some really good resources to teach you how to use the gifts of the Spirit. I started reading some things by Bethel Church in Redding. When you search in Google on Bill Johnson, you find all kinds of negative, slanderous warnings by “discerning” Christians. Some fear that the gifts manifesting today are counterfeit gifts. I had to learn more and I needed a mentor, so I looked at both sides and prayed. One day, I had two screens up. One was from a well known site that is decidedly non-charismatic in nature. It talked about the known heretics of the faith today. The other was about Bill Johnson and his five generations in family ministry, now six. I saw the fruit of the work and the amazing transformation of the people who had a capacity to love the unlovely and to actually bring help to them through the Holy Spirit’s power. That’s what Jesus did, wasn’t it? That is what that command was all about. Go and do likewise to the end of the age – until I come back. God grabbed my attention with this question. He asked me, “What fruit to you see on each of these two screens?” On one, I saw fear, condemnation and lack of power. On the other, flourishing ministry by a humble man who soaked and meditated on the Word daily and who was willing to look nutty for God if it drew Him closer to the heart of the Father.

Bethel Church in Redding has a site called http://www.ibethel.tv. It’s awesome. I finally found a place where people shared how to hear God’s voice with specifics. I learned that God speaks words of knowledge, sometimes by giving us a sympathy pain in our body! It’s not written in the Bible, but sure enough, I’ve gotten a pain in my body when I’ve passed someone in a store. Because I’d been taught that that could be God speaking to me, I have stopped to ask people if they have that same pain (assuming I don’t regularly have pain in that area of my body, of course.) Right there, God has healed them of all pain as I’ve prayed. The more amazing witness is that I asked them something I could never otherwise know without revelation from God.

If you’d like to read more about what a life that looks more like the Acts church. There is much to read and watch.

Useful links:

Global Awakening has books, schools, and conferences by incredible teachers. http://globalawakeningstore.com/Books/ There are also full ministry manuals that will teach you how to use the gifts we already have via the Holy Spirit.

Here are a couple of my favorites:
1) “Essential Guide to Healing” by Randy Clark and Bill Johnson. This catapulted my understanding of HOW to heal the sick, not just ask God to help.

2) “There is More” by Randy Clark. This is all about passing down impartation of gifts and power of that practice. It also talks about the fallacies of cessationist teaching, meaning the belief that the gifts ceased or happen at God’s sovereign will. Many of us grow up with misinformation. http://globalawakeningstore.com/There-Is-More.html

Healing at Amusement Parks – Waiting in line is more fun with Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV1984)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all- surpassing power is from God and not from us.
 
2 Corinthians 4:10 (NIV1984)
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
 
I’m not anyone special, except to my Father in heaven of course. I am a mom and wife. I have no church position, but I minister to people every day. I love Jesus. When I wake up, I recognize him for my first breath and continue to do so throughout the day as He keeps my heart beating with His. There is no where I’d like to escape from Him, no place I want to be without Him and no person I will not talk about Him with. He is my life. I live blessed with every breath because He fills me. I am that jar of clay. Until he came, I was empty, looking for satisfaction in relationships, how my house was decorated and through validation that I was doing well at my job, whatever that was in the time. I needed approval to feel good about myself and I relied on the church to feed me. Most of the time, that left me frustrated. I sought more and the more was God. Now I know that my walk with Jesus can have church added to it, my spiritual food can be added to by the church and my faith can be strengthened by encouragement through the body of Christ, but there is One, only One, who will fulfill me moment to moment. He is the One I love and adore. He is my all-consuming fire, the relationship of a lifetime, the desire of my heart. I was made for Him and I can’t escape loving Him and his creation every minute. I am ruined for all else, but with joy that is more than enough to share. Through it, I love my family better, I love people in the church more, I love people who aren’t lovely just as much. God is our Father and they are my family, or people who I want to join my family.
 
My jar hasn’t changed, but it has been filled and it is always warmed by the Jesus love within. There was an awakening moment in my life when it came to reading Paul’s writing. It came when I began to live through the book of Acts. You can read acts as history, or you can expect it to be your experience. A few years ago, I was convicted that Acts should be the experience of the body of Christ today and my experience every day. Jesus healed all who came to him. Why weren’t the people I prayed for healed like that if I was to grow up into the fullness of Christ and be an imitator of him? As Paul writes these verses, and talks about the all-surpassing power within us, I know He understands the immensity of the death of Christ that he carries around. I now understand it myself and I can barely write about it without falling to my face in awe. God himself, in Spirit, inhabits the jars of clay and calls them his children, heirs of the kingdom. He says we should spend our time healing the sick, and when they are healed proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has just come near you. What a way to preach the gospel! No arguing, no twisting people’s heads around our theology to get them to come to Christ. No, instead, we are just to be the gospel – be the good news as he stirs inside us like warm oil waiting to flow. If this is not your normal Christian life, don’t feel condemned or inadequate. God is pleased with you just because you are his child, but He does have more for you and intends for His church to represent Him well.  He said that when we believe signs and wonders will follow. We will cast out demons, heal the sick and raise the dead. That looks like a war against the dominion of hell, doesn’t it! That’s what Jesus came to do, take the keys back to the kingdom and hand them to his disciples, of which there are many. The enemy lost his sword at the fall and you have been given one (at least one) that you are meant to swing, it is the name of Jesus. The first apostles were not the only apostles, or the only disciples. Jesus commanded them to go and make disciples teaching them to do all that he commanded them, and He promised to be with them always. They didn’t heal the sick alone, they would dip into the power that filled the otherwise empty jar and anoint people with it’s healing power. Holy Spirit is bigger than we can understand. 
 
As I write this, I am on our family vacation. We’ve all traveled to Orlando to attend the Voice of the Apostles conference. We don’t need conferences to be Christian, but we do need to be strengthened by the body of Christ, in a place of faith, where people are passionate and sharing testimonies of what God is doing. It is a place where the laying on of hands and eagerly desiring the gifts of the Spirit for the growing of the church is talked about. That’s why we travelled to be here, and also to get away and listen for directions from God. No matter where we are, God is ready to move. He heal in conferences and he can heal in theme parks and we Jesus followers can’t have a split personality. It’s always an honor to represent the true Jesus. I’ve not been to a theme park since living through the book of Acts in my life, but now I understand that I am living the epistles. An hour long line for a ride is an hour to ask God what He wants to do in the people around me. God worked it out in almost every ride for someone with a need to be right around me in line. Remember how I said I talk to him through the day? I just ask him to show me how he wants to move around me. 
 
Here are the stories. In the first line, there was a fellow who had a crown of thorns tatoo around his arm. This one really pulled at my heart. I prayed for an opportunity to be across from him in the weaving lines for a few moments. Soon he was right next to me and I said, “Hey, your tattoo is really cool. What made you choose that design?” I knew he wasn’t a believer. He explained that he had a temporary tattoo of the pattern and just really liked it so he went home and looked it up. I replied, “Do you know what that is? It is the crown of thorns that Jesus wore. He paid an incredible price to know you.” Inside, I was feeling the passion of God for him, but had only a few second to talk. “God drew you to that tattoo because he wants to know you and it is what you are made for. Just ask him to show you who He is. I’d help you more if we had more time, but you’re going to have to seek Him to find out, but He is passionate about you and misses you. Find Him.”  The man was smiling now and visibly intrigued. My boldness was just God’s heart being expressed for him and he could feel it. Through the rest of that line, he had nothing to do but think about it, glancing over at me now and then. God was working. 
 
In the next line, a young couple travelled near us. When I first saw the girl, her eyes looked distant and I had an impression that something wasn’t right. Maybe she didn’t feel good. The time came when she was across the rail from me and leaning on her boyfriend. “You’re not feeling good, are you?”  
        “No,” she replied, “I’m feeling very light-headed.” 
        “I think I can help you. Do you know about Jesus?” She knew about Jesus, but it seemed vague.  I told here that Jesus will help her and asked if I could pray for her. She gladly accepted and I took her hand. “Holy Spirit come. (Whoooosh! I was taken by surprise by the wave that moved through me and her head jerked up. 
        “Wow!” She said. “Lightheadedness, get out in Jesus name.” 
        “It’s gone!” She said as she and her boyfriend both looked amazed and happy. Then I got to tell them that you can go to church all your life and not really know Jesus, but he lives. He is alive and he moves and loves people today just like He did when he was here. It was so wonderful seeing them enjoy the ride and her demeanor was totally changed. God has used me to change someone’s day and maybe their life and it wasn’t complicated. I simply noticed, said something out of love, and invited Him into their life. He is faithful to do what He has promised. 
 
As we left after the ride, they yelled out. “Thank you!” I was humbled and loved Jesus even more. While these are everyday moments for me and my day goes on, I have no idea what is going on in the mind of those I’ve prayed for or spoken too. I’ve learned that if you just take time to tell them that God drew you to them to show care, that alone can bring them to tears. People are hungry to hear that God has noticed them. I’ll let you imagine what it is like to be one of these people, because I can only imagine. Out of the blue, a stranger notices that you have a problem, you may have visible symptoms or they may just engage you in conversation. Sometimes they know you have pain and you haven’t told them. What would you be thinking? Then, they tell you Jesus can help. “Jesus?” they are thinking. I’ve heard of him and you’re probably harmless, so whatever… then…you start feeling the Holy Spirit move, or your pain leaves, or you may even feel nothing right away, but you have encountered love. Now, your day goes on but you find you now don’t have the pain you have had, sometimes for years! That is the lesson that keeps on teaching. It is the death of Christ manifested in their bodies, revealed through Jesus in ours. Holy Spirit lives in us. When we invite him to come, we receive power and the gospel comes alive and the book of Acts continues even today, even through a family waiting in line in a theme park. Reaching people makes the opportunity worth the price of admission. 
 
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”