Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Tribute

I have been thinking about how to express my feelings about this incredible couple for weeks.  As I sit here I am concerned that I will not properly convey what I think about them and their ministry...and what a blessing they have been for us.

         Last year in May we graduated Charis Bible College and thought the natural progression of things is that we would move back to Nashville.  However, there was a nagging lack of peace about this decision.  After a strong Word from Andrew Wommack that confirmed what we were feeling, we knew we were supposed to stay.  We also knew part of that Word was to come under Dan and Penny Funkhouser at Heartbeat Ministries International Church. 

         It was in the Fall of 2011 when we began our Treasure Hunt Sunday School class with Dan's prompting.  You see, we had read the book "The Ultimate Treasure Hunt" and had a heart for prophetic evangelism, but we had no experience.  We were WAY out of our comfort zone.  But Dan told us to go ahead and start it.  So, with MUCH reluctance and fear of looking like idiots, we started the class. 

        Josh did go over a chapter of the book each week for about 10 minutes, but we wanted the class to be more about fellowship and learning to hear God's voice and becoming confident that you can hear Him.  We did this mainly by hanging out with each other and doing prophetic exercises.  Josh and I have led several bible studies through the years, and I remember the phone calls, emails  and various other reminders to get people to come.  But with this class we never really told anyone about it and pretty soon, we had to move to a bigger classroom to accommodate all the people!  Josh and I in NO WAY take credit for any of the success of the class.  It was a class led by the Holy Spirit.  And it was the most amazing ministry I have ever experienced. 

        Dan and Penny Funkhouser have a ministry I would not wish upon myself.  They welcome countless students from CBC into their congregation, only to see them graduate and leave to start ministries or churches of their own.  The amazing thing is they not only embrace this incredible calling, but they thrive in it.  They openly pray, support and send out people into the local communities with no jealousy or concern about it taking people from their own congregation. 

        They run their church with open hands, meeting the needs of the people all around them.  They bring single moms up to the platform in the church and let the congregation shower them with monetary blessing.  They bring in missionaries that the church monthly supports to speak about their ministries.  They encourage people to give, not only to the needs of the church, but to God's Kingdom all around us.

I see myself when I get to heaven seeking them out.  Bringing my family and friends to them and saying, "This is them!  This is the couple I told you about!"  And I have a feeling I won't be the only one...

    Josh and I will forever be thankful for Dan and Penny.  I believe for the rest of our lives we will look back on this last year and know...this is where our ministry started.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gleanings from a Worship Conference

I was able to attend the Better Way to Worship conference at Charis Bible College the last few days.  It was a great time of reflection, revelation from the Holy Spirit and inspiration for the future.  These are the main things I learned about worship, people and myself.

1) I cry alot when I feel the Spirit.  WAY more than what makes me comfortable.

2) I love to watch genuine people dance before the Lord.  Although most of these people seem to be over the age of 45.  This tells me that people younger (me being in this age group) take ourselves too seriously to relax and look stupid in front of other people.  I am trying to get there.  I dance with Jesus alone, why can't I do this in public?

3) Music was created before the human race.

4) Music is powerful in both melody and lyrics.  I already knew this, but the songs I heard this week really reminded me of their power.

5) Lyrics are so important.  You can teach theology through lyrics of worship songs.  The correct theology should always be centered around God's goodness, mercy, love and Jesus power, authority and source of life.

6) Worship Songs that are modern are not more spiritual than old songs.  Although I am not a huge fan of old Pentecostal songs or many hymns, I appreciate that it is the message and heart behind the song and not the style.

7)  It was scary how many people couldn't clap in time with the music at a worship conference.  :)

8) I must learn Music Theory (the only class I completely flunked out of- seriously we are talking 45%  I just could wrap my brain around it in college).  But was introduced to a software program that will teach you like an interactive college course.  This will not only help me play and sing better, but write better music.

9) AND THIS IS MY FAVORITE!!!  When Jesus returns and we are in eternity with the Lord, there will be no need for Apostles, Pastors, Teachers, Prophets, and Evangelists...but worship will remain.  Forever.

10) The Holy Spirit is the best teacher.  When you are writing a song with the Holy Spirit you are pulling a song out of heaven one piece at a time (like a puzzle) and you are trying to figure out how the pieces go together.  Don't throw any pieces away just because you don't know where it fits yet.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Holding Pattern

holding pattern
1. A usually circular pattern flown by aircraft awaiting clearance to land at an airport.
2. Informal A state of waiting or delay.

Several things probably come to your mind when you think of a "holding pattern."  Most of which is likely to be: babies screaming, close quarters, and starving with only peanuts to eat.  I too have experienced this seemingly unending process.  Not only in the natural, but in the supernatural as well.

Last summer we took a trip to Nashville to visit our family and friends.  On our flight out East there was a very powerful storm hitting the Nashville area at the same time we were going to land.  Among the moans of disbelief and frustration from the passengers (myself included) the pilot announced that we would be landing in Arkansas for 45 minutes, then would head back to Nashville when the storm had passed.  After already being on the plane for 4 1/2 hours (in the seat between both of my children), I felt I would rather take my chances with the lightning.

But to Arkansas we went, and we sat...and we sat, then took off...and sat...until 4 hours after our original landing time, we finally arrived in Nashville.  By the time we all crawled into bed it was after 3am.  We were completely wiped out, frustrated, and ready to give up on air travel all together.

It wasn't until very recently that the Lord revealed to me the parallels in our spiritual journey to this last trip out East...

Last year, at the end of March we were seeking the Lord on what we should do next.  We were getting ready to graduate from CBC and the natural progression of things just seemed like we would move.  Strike out on our new ministry adventure!!
But wait...a powerful Word, confirming the lack of peace we had about leaving.  We were almost able to hear the brakes squealing on our plans...

And then there was the waiting...and waiting...wondering if we had done the right thing.  

And then, 6 months after the decision to stay, something wonderful happened.  The greatest bible study/ministry/group Josh and I have ever led dropped into our laps by the Holy Spirit.  In fact, Josh and I had very little to do with it, and because of that~ it was AWESOME!  And now we have the blessing of knowing why we stayed.  Why we were in a holding pattern by the Holy Spirit.  He was waiting for something...perhaps he was waiting on us, perhaps he was protecting us from an eminent "storm" or perhaps it was a little of both.

So if you feel you are in a "holding pattern" don't begrudge the process...pop open another coke, choke down another bag of peanuts, sit back and enjoy the ride.  It may just be EXACTLY what you need.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Supers

Culture is, and has been for many years, enamored with super powers.  We watch movies about people from other planets that can fly, have incredible strength or can shoot lasers out of their eyes.  Or lets make it more realistic...we pay billions of dollars each year buying football tickets, basketball jerseys and seat covers for our cars to give homage to the "super heroes" in the sports field.

Last summer I remember heading to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a favorite family past time that we enjoy several times a year.  Every time we take the trip it is a slow, relaxing pace up the mountain.  Usually the only traffic we encounter are deer passing by on the back roads.  But there was something different last July.  There were flashing signs, people in orange vests directing traffic, and detours around The Broadmoor Hotel.  We finally realized that the 2011 US Women's Open was being held at the hotel's beautiful golf course.  A normally quiet area was buzzing with activity and excitement.

This got me thinking...why do we pay money to watch people play a sport?  Because they are good at it.  REALLY good at it.  WAY better then we ourselves are or ever could be.  Have you ever paid to watch someone clean a toilet?  No.  I am going to bet you haven't.  And why?  Because it is no big deal.  Everyone can do it.

So lets now bring this to the spiritual arena.  Why do we wait in line, maybe even pay to see a man heal people? Why was Kathryn Kuhlman's meetings packed?  Why do people go to see Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland or Kenneth Hagin? ...Because these are the spiritual super heroes. 

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not mocking what these great men and women of God have done and are doing.  (And praise God they are doing it!)  My simple point is that we believe we have no ability to do signs and wonders.  Or we wouldn't be so amazed or content to just watch.   Again, don't misunderstand me, I very much enjoy going to a powerful meeting with manifestations that can only be explained as performed by Jesus through the hands of people.

 But, I am just now truly believing that I can do this too.  That Jesus desires I allow Him to manifest miracles through me.  That this isn't just for the few and chosen.  But for me.  And not just me.  But for you too.  And maybe...just maybe we can be super heroes together.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." John 14:12

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Insecurity: Part 2

        I am not sure if it is just me, but it seems many times in my life I find myself swinging from one extreme to another.  Almost like I notice that something in my life needs to be corrected, but in an effort to fix it, I swing to the opposite extreme, and once again find myself in error. 
Please tell me it isn't just me.

       I see this in my mind like a swinging pendulum (with security and insecurity on opposite sides).  What is most frustrating is this is an area of my life I have felt healed and set free from, just to find I only had half the answer.  

      Now that I have graduated from Bible college, have studied and have lived (and survived!) a God adventure, I have plenty to say and do.  I can lead bible studies with my eyes closed, lead worship without even blinking, and have so much I want to encourage others with.  I think to myself, THIS is security.  But wait.  They didn't call on me.  They didn't ask my opinion.  They didn't ask for my deep and meaningful revelation.  How dare they.  And there it is again.  Insecurity.   So masked this time that I thought it was security.  Sneaky.


Insecurity: Part 1

I tried...I really tried to get this into one blog.  Shorten it.  Couldn't do it.  So sorry.  I understand that it can be a commitment to read an entire blog.  But I sincerely write these 2 blogs with the desire to encourage those going through the same struggles I have. 

Let me go back about...5 years.  I was a struggling new mom, money was tight and I went to a ladies/mom meeting hoping for some encouragement and new friends.  I was by far the least stylish woman in the room.  My clothes were old, I still had baby weight, and my new son had a stained bib.  I remember feeling like I wanted to disappear.  Not that I was shunned by ANYONE because of my appearance.  In fact I was treated warmly.  But it didn't matter.  The way I felt inside they might as well spit in my face.  The point was it had NOTHING to do with them.  It had EVERYTHING to do with me. 
I found myself jealous, embarrassed and even had moments of contempt.  I wanted to sing better, speak better, be a better Christian, look better, and have better looking children than every women in that room.    Of course, I was equally petrified that I would be asked to sing, speak or the like, since I didn't feel I had ANYTHING of significance to say.  This was the day the Lord started me on a journey from insecurity. 

The first thing I began to notice is that even the most put together women I knew seem to be struggling with the same insecurities I was.  This blew my mind.  This showed me that it really had nothing to do with your outer appearance, but more to do with how you perceive yourself.   Which lead me to the second profound revelation: Who/What is telling you who you are?  Have you, like myself, let so many others tell you who you are?  {Maybe even including yourself} Have you for years been explaining to the Lord why you CAN'T do certain things.  I remember hearing the Lord say to my spirit, "When are you going to stop telling me what you are capable of, and start letting Me tell you what I made you for?" wow.

The Grace message also played a heavy part in setting me free from insecurity.  The simple fact that the Love and favor I could experience from God had absolutely, positively nothing(!) to do with what a mess I am.  What a blessing!!

So over the next 3 years, I radically changed.  The Lord help me to see what He made me for, and I was no longer in competition with the women around me.  I knew who I was, and was comfortable in that.  Praise God!  However, I thought the chapter "Insecurity" was closed.  No. such. luck.