It’s Time

Dreams are a huge way that God speaks to me.  I love it.  When I wake up with a dream that I know is from the Lord it thrills me.  He knows this.  The treasure hunt of discovery begins.  I went through a season several years ago that I felt I was dreaming significant dreams almost every night…then…for about a year it has been like not a dream was in my head.  Even the night’s I would know that I had dreamed..I would wake up and they would be gone…poof.  But now…yippee…it seems a season of dreaming has started up again!!

I remember in 2009 the Lord was talking to me a lot about KEYS and at about the same time, Tiffany & Company came out with an entire line of keys.  I got the marketing piece in the mail.  The next thing that the Lord began to talk to me about was unlocking…and sure enough, a marketing piece from Tiffany’s was in my mailbox with what else…but locks right on the front.  Last week, I had a dream and in it I saw a gold ring, a wedding band of sorts..and on the inside of it there were roman numerals.  Only half of the band was there.  Take a look at the marketing piece I got this week in my inbox from none other than Tiffany & Company:

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The bottom one is the EXACT thing that I saw in my dream…cut it in half and that was it!!  What does all of this mean?  I don’t exactly know.  But I do know that it means there is an emphasis on time that is arriving.  The Atlas collection says that it used roman numerals because they represent ageless artifacts of a great civilation and its elevated concept of time.  I believe this shows that we are entering a season where the Sons of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32)…those who understood the times and knew what to do…are rising up.  There are people who have been learning from the Lord himself that are, in fact, about to come on the scene, with vision and wisdom and discernment that will come from above.

 

The Story of John

I found my self sharing all about John on a call today.  I had not planned on it but out it came.  This story is near and dear to my heart.  It was during a season of my life where I know I was really learning to not only hear God’s voice but to trust it as well.  The first time I saw John, standing on the busy street corner, the sight of him made me catch my breath.  Long white hair, long white beard, leaning as if totally reliant upon a cross he had made out of two pieces of wood.  I would drive by this corner every day…you know…on my way to the mall, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks…all the important things in life.  Day after day I would “hear” as I drove by…”Stop and talk to this man”… but, of course, I ignored it…until I couldn’t.  As I shared today on the call…so many times, the voice of God comes in and interrupts our every day routines and asks us to step out…to dare … to fight against that voice of reason that says “stop and talk to this homeless man on the corner all by myself?!?! Well, that makes no sense.”

One midweek day, I passed by again and there he was…and there was the same plea, “stop and talk to this man”.  I drove past, but today was different.  As I pulled up to Starbucks I had an acute awareness of how I would feel if I drove back and he was gone.  I would have known that I would have missed…it.  Something.  And so…I drove back…and this time, instead of a sideways glance I pulled my car over, parked it, and got out.  I walked right over to this enigma of a man that, as my daughter would later say, “looked like Moses and acted like Jesus.”

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Well here is an awkward scene.  Me in my white mercedes…all alone…and him…tattered clothes and nothing but what he had on and this cross.  Standing there.  Both of us probably wondering what to say.  I could feel the stares from the people driving by…curiosity, pity, perhaps for some, jealousy.  He wouldn’t even look at me in the eyes at first.  The meekness of this man and the gentleness of his spirit was so overwhelming.

I told him I felt like I was supposed to stop.  Could I do anything for him?  He would not take money.  Never would.  He said that people didn’t know what to do with a homeless man carrying a cross that won’t take money.  We chatted a bit,  shared pleasantries, I wished him the best and then drove away.  But I could not stop thinking about him.  I had to return.

The next day was the day before halloween 2009.  You could tell a storm was coming in.  I drove by and I stopped yet again. “Hey John!”  Yup…here I am again…the woman who just stops to chit chat.  It’s me.  This day, eye contact was made and our conversations went a little deeper.  We talked about the rain coming…he said he had a tarp but that he was a little worried being out on halloween…carrying that big ole cross and all.  I knew it in an instant.  He was coming home with me.

And he did.  We had spare bedrooms but he would not come in.  He insisted that he simply needed a roof from the rain and that the garage or even a storage shed in the backyard would be just fine.  I fixed up that garage. Pulled the cars out.  Blew up an air mattress.  Found a side table and lamp for some warm lighting.  Set up a heater and found the best blankets we had.  And there…he slept.

The next morning I came down and knocked on the door.  I wanted to invite him in for coffee.  He would not come…said he had shook up some instant in a bottle and had to get out on his beat to carry that cross.  “If a man stops long enough it gets too hard to get back out there with a cross.”  Every morning for the next couple of days, we invited him in.  Finally, one morning I came down and there he was, sitting at the table with Keith.  Two old friends chatting it up over a cup of joe.  As soon as I entered the room he got up and let me have the seat and proceeded to sit on the floor.  This was our routine…even though I insisted that he stay at the table.

We learned so much talking to him.  We felt so at ease with him.  Katherine had no fear around him and even the neighborhood kids were drawn to him when they came over.  Now the parents…not so much.  Many wondered who in the world this homeless man was they would see leaving our garage in mornings to walk the streets with a cross.  We got words of warning from people…you know.

He probably stayed with us for about two weeks…and then, he moved on.  He felt like he was supposed to go and be homeless in D.C…which, by the way, has one of our largest homeless populations in the country…and is the ONLY place where you cannot carry a cross.  Good to know.  The last day he was there was an interesting, life changing day for all of us.

Our good friends and neighbors came down.  We were about to leave to go on a ministry trip with them.  John was there with us at the kitchen table when we got the knock on the door.  They were coming to share their hearts and their situation and to let us know that they could not go on the trip with us because they could not even afford gas for the car or food for the pantry for their kids.  They began to share their story and how bad it had gotten…none of us had known.  They were literally at the end of their rope.  They shared and shared and cried and poured out their hearts to us.  John, in the corner, eyes down, simply listening.  And then…he spoke.

“I don’t know if you would be willing, but I have $150 in foodstamps and I don’t need it.  I have everything that I need.  We could go to the store.  You don’t have to be seen with me.  I will just pay for it and leave.”  We were all stunned.  It was too much.  It broke our neighbors and if you have never seen a grown man cry…well, let’s just say our kitchen would not have been the place to be.  The men gathered up and got in the car to go the store.  The women sat at the table in silence.  The kids went upstairs to draw pictures for John to take with him on his journey.

The pictures from that night at the grocery store were humbling, awe inspiring, and so moving that every time I tell this story it is difficult for me to get thru it.  That $150 bought so much food that three carts were overflowing.  A father, feeling all kinds of emotions I am sure…standing at the back of them…and a homeless man, at the front, pulling out his last food stamps to pay the bill.  What a picture.  What a lesson.  What a moment that marked us all forever.

Keith and I took John to the bus station that night….I cried the whole way.  I didn’t want to see him go.  And as we drove up…in this not so good part of town…and John got out with only the clothes he could layer on his back and a dufflebag slung over his shoulder…I looked to the left at the long brick wall lining our pathway to walk up to the station.  In graffiti in huge letters were the words:  GOD IS REAL.  It was too much.  It broke me.  I will have to find that picture to share with you…John walking up that walkway and that wall…that wall looming over him with those words that could never be more true than on that night.

GOD IS REAL.  SO REAL….and so often, He shows up in ways we would never imagine and couldn’t even make up.  I have to wonder how much we miss by not listening to the small nudges like, “stop and talk to this man”… the seemingly insignificant moments that we bypass as we go on our merry ways.  How many people have we looked at feeling that WE have something to offer THEM…when all the while the true treasure lies in what they have to offer us.

Start Now

I am sitting here this morning on my back deck overlooking the blue ridge mountains…on a Friday…in my pajamas…with my child who I have the option to homeschool…not out there running around in the rat race of life and the traffic and doing the “thank God it’s Friday thing”… I want to encourage everyone of you to work. Work smart. Take risks. Enjoy the journey but do not be lazy in your youth. Don’t put off building something that can be a legacy. Don’t put off learning and getting skilled and doing the things that others will not do. Do not fall into the lull of mediocrity and status quo and doing just enough to “get by”. Be excellent. Think big. Look down the road. Dream about what you want your life to look like. Don’t listen to dream stealers and nay sayers. Be willing to stay up late and get up early. Stay the course even when the surroundings aren’t reflecting what you know is possible. Be afraid but do it anyway. Step out. Stop waiting for all things to be perfect. Don’t listen to those who have settled for living a life of complacency. In order to have choices down the road you have to make choices now. Make them. Commit to them. Develop the discipline to see them thru. Time will fly and you don’t want to wake up one day “wishing that you had of…”. Start now.

In the Beginning

Sometimes you just have to go back to the beginning.  To the notes you scribbled, the dreams you drew out, the things that GOD said.  I have been doing that this week and since then, all sorts of confirmations have been happening.  You see, God can give us dreams and ideas and passions that are such a part of who we are…then life happens, situations change, circumstance shift and you can begin to wonder HOW in the world those dreams will come forth.  You begin to try to make the vision FIT into the circumstances.  You listen to others with well meaning hearts…you shift the message or the marketing to what the world says to market.  But nothing ever fits.

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Today, I want to encourage you to go back to the beginning.  What did God say?  What did God place on your heart?  Don’t allow time to dilute it.  Don’t believe that you missed it.  Don’t try to place on it anything to “make it make sense”.  God’s ways are not our ways.  “In the beginning God created…” out of NOTHING…where there was no form and all was void.  It’s where He works best.  So…pull it out…lay it before Him…let the Spirit of God hover over it…then watch and see.  Many of you are about to have your dreams launched out with the simplicity of a sentence…”Let there be light”.   It’s time.

Purpose

It’s the question I hear over and over again…”What is my purpose?”  It seems to have people stopped in their tracks…afraid to move forward into the abyss of uncertainty.  So I thought I would write this quick post with the hopes that it will help some of you.

We ALL have the same PURPOSE...and that is one thing and one thing only…Intimacy with God.  Yeah, that’s right…real deal, in His face, constant communication, trust and vulnerability intimacy.  It’s why we were made.  It’s the place from which all else will flow.  It’s the place where you will begin to have understanding of who you really are and why you are here.  NOTHING else can fulfill you.

We also all have the same CALLING…it is to “Go into all the earth….” .  We are called to GO…to be carriers of the Lord and to release what we receive from that intimate place that we live out of.  Some versions say “As you go…” Does that make a difference in the way you read it and think about it??  God will use ALL things for good…all of your gifts, your talents, your desires, your skills and knowledge…GO doesn’t just mean to go be an evangelist and preach the gospel…it means just Go and Be the gospel…love people and serve people and go places and be passionate and Be YOU (highest form of worship).

Now, your VEHICLE is really the question that most of you mean when you are asking the question of purpose. Your vehicle is NOT your purpose.  It is simply the thing that carries you into the world to release who you are and who is in you.  For example, if you are an amazing singer…whether you choose to be a worship leader, to sing in the secular music industry, or both, singing is not your purpose…it’s your vehicle.  Your passions will be keys to point you to your vehicle.  What do you love to do?  What comes natural to you?  What is the thing that you could talk about for hours on end without stopping and the more you talk about it the more excited you get?!?!?!  Find THAT.

So…PURPOSE=Intimacy; CALLING=GO! (as you go) into all the earth; VEHICLE=your passions will take you there!

Hope that helps!

E

Provoked

I was having a conversation with a new friend this morning and it prompted me to remember this note that I wrote back in 2011.  Felt it was worth the read and so I would post it here.

February 2011
This one may come across too strong but I woke up thinking about this so here it goes.

76% of Americans claim to be Christians.  There are 310,749,195 people in the United States.  That means that roughly 240,000,000 million people say they are christians.  I am provoked at this and call NO WAY!  There is NO WAY that many people are Christians and we still have the issues and non-transformational communities and cities that we have.  There is no way that many people can be Christians and yet we have over 700,000 people homeless in our country.  There is no way that many people can be Christians and yet there are only around 120,000 adoptions each year.  There is no way that many people can be Christians.  WHAT IF just 1% of those who claim to be Christians woke up to the truth about what it really means…

Can you imagine 2.4 million people loving their neighbor as themselves!

Can you imagine 2.4 million people seeking to restore people caught in ANY trespass!

Can you imagine 2.4 million people who know their job is to edify and build up and never tear down!

Can you imagine 2.4 million people realizing that Jesus is IN THEM…what would they do!??!?!?

Can you imagine 2.4 million people that choose to stop looking at self issues, self problems, self stuff, and started looking and asking the question…who can I reach out to, love, and pour into today!

Can you imagine 2.4 million people on fire to fulfill their purpose and to walk in their calling and to become the solution to the problems of this day instead of seeking what they want to do for a career and to make money!

Can you imagine 2.4 million people rising up to speak truth in love!

I could go on and on but I won’t.  Feel free to add your own “Can you imagine”…would love to hear them!

1% of the passionate can affect the 99% who are lukewarm and lethargic.  1%.  Again, I am provoked.  Wake up people!  Be who you are called to be!  Realize WHO YOU ARE and more importantly WHO IS IN YOU!  That means if just 3 people in a lukewarm church of 300 would get provoked and become so sick and tired of the status quo and the mediocrity and the Sunday morning socials…that they may actually spark others into seeing that there is SO MUCH MORE!!!!  Be the one.  Choose to be passionate, and a builder, and a lover, and one that seeks to reach out.  Choose to go deeper and deeper.  Choose to not settle with the problems you see and not to be overwhelmed and to think that JUST ONE can’t affect change.  Yes you can.  It has to start somewhere…might as well be with you.

 

 

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design |dəˈzīn|
planned and fashioned
skillfully and artistically made
intended for a definite purpose

default |diˈfôlt|                                                                                                 
inaction or neglect
failure to act
failure to perform on a legal obligation
failure to fulfill an agreement

 Yes, you were designed...fashioned, artistically made, and intended for a definite purpose.  There was purpose breathed into you, deposited inside of you before you were even in your mother’s womb.  We all have it.  It’s there.  But for so many, life took over.  Past hurts, past words, expectations of who we should be and what we should do.  All kinds of things begin to bury that deposit.   And so, we begin to live life by default.  I believe that you and I were with God before we were here.  That His spirit and our spirits were together.  There was agreement, purpose, an “assignment” of sorts that we knew was ours.  We have to take the time to get quiet and let our spirits soar again.  Your spirit already knows your assignment!!  Walking through life, living in the sea of mediocrity, staying in the status quo, never rocking the boat, not tapping into THAT which is already in you is what living life in default looks like.  It feels like just getting by, just doing what you think you are supposed to do, waking up on Monday dreading the week and plopping on the couch on Friday too drained to move.  Life in default is no good, no fun, not life giving and I don’t want you to live there.  So…are you ready to be enlisted into a life of MORE?!?!  Make sure because you may be surprised at the things it will cost you.  But there is one thing I promise…it will be worth it and you will NEVER go back.