Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week Two

The Discipline ofPrayer

This week as I began to research the act of prayer I found many good nuggets of knowledge from men who've lived it. There is so much on the topic of prayer that it'd be impossible to share it all, but I'll do my best to sum it up and leave the rest up to you to discover! I just want to thank God for the places He's led me to this week in books, in the word, and revelations in my own prayer time.

I agree whole-heartedly with Richard Foster when he says, "God always meets us where we are and slowly moves us along into deeper things." Over time as we prepare, train, seek, and listen we will pray with even more authority than present day. (When I saw "authority" I hope you understand that I don't mean authority over God, but authority WITH God against the powers of darkness). Foster also professes that prayer ushers us into the perpetual communion with the Father and it is both LIFE-CREATING and LIFE-CHANGING.

I truly believe that if you don't see the importance or value in prayer
then there will be little power in your words, very little authority in the spiritual realm, and no confidence in a mighty God who desires to do so much in and through you!!! Prayer really can move mountains but truth is... most Christians are not even sure they believe this so their efforts are weak and sporadic. There is still another camp of believers that I've heard say, "Well... He's gonna do what He wants anyway, so what's the point?"

Before we move any further I challenge you to think for a second how you REALLY feel on the subject of prayer. Write out some of your concer
ns, disappointments, and frustrations. Perhaps you've assumed things about prayer and how God works? Or have been told something that just wasn't biblical? I have no clue where you are at in this journey... but what I do know is that there is definitely POWER in praying God's will for your life, your family, the government, the lost, the suffering, and the sick. I also know that it's a conversation with a God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. And don't forget about the unseen battles that go on daily we are responsible to stand firm in as we hold onto His promises and truth. Victory in the kingdom
and in your heart is what He's longing for...

So... what exactly is prayer? Well as Graham Cooke puts it, "Prayer, in its simplest form, is finding out what God wants to do and then asking Him to do it."

Why? Why is prayer so important? "In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after him: to desire the things he desires, to love t
he things he loves, to will the things he wills. We are being taught to see things from his point of view." Richard Foster

When we pray we are dwelling in the most high... and resting in His shadow (Ps. 91:1) We are actually tapping into a source of communication that no one else on earth can possibly accomplish without a relationship with the Father. The fact that there are some out there who have accepted Christ into their lives but don't desire to take advantage of this incredible form of communication with the Creator of the universe i
s mind-boggling to me! We actually have the ability to enter into an ongoing conversation with the trinity and find out how to pray in God's will!! FASCINATING!

What happens when we pray? "He will teach us to look beyond the natural into the supernatural realm and see the Kingdom of Heaven at work in every need. It will no longer matter what life, people, or even the enemy throw at us, because we will be able to hear the conversation in Heaven and understand that Go
d is at work all around us." Graham Cooke

How do we pray? "We must hear, know, and obey the will of God before we pray it into the lives of others," Foster. Jesus tells us to come to Him as children... Openness, honesty, and trust are evidence of our communication as children to our Father.

We must first find stillness. This is why it was so
valuable that they started with meditation in the spiritual disciplines. "Rest is our best weapon against the enemy, because rest allows us to hide in our secret place in God, " says Cooke. "... and without stillness, our experience with God is limited." Truth is, the enemy hates you but would never chase you into the holy of holies because he knows what fate awaits him there. Just like the word teaches in Psalm 100 we must enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, THAT is where a true prayer life begins...

In YWAM we used a method of praying that basical
ly led us into intercession using the basis of that prayer. I know God can speak to us any where and in any way He wishes... but I also know that there can be things that hinder our ears from hearing. These are biblical things I found that help align my body, mind and spirit with His will for me and others I'm lifting up to Him. Perhaps they will be applicable to your prayer life as well.

1- Praise and thanks to God (Ps 100:4) 2- Confess sins and walk in forgiveness (Ps 24:3) 3- Silence the voice of the enemy (James 4:7) 4- Silence yo
ur own thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5) 5- Ask the Holy Spirit to come and speak to you (Jn 16:13) 6- Wait in silent expectation (1 Kings 19:12) and 7- Pray/act in faith of what God reveals to you (1 Jn 5:14).

For years I had no clue what it meant to pray like Jesu
s, the apostles, some of the spiritual giants of the bible or of our own time. To be honest it's a journey of discovering more of God's deep mysteries that I'll be on till I meet Him, but it's a journey worth seeking for sure. I'd like to share a little bit of my story to encourage you wherever you are and to challenge you to always be hungry for more of Him. When you are... you'll be less satisfied with the world and more excited about seeing His will on earth come to life. Then you'll experience the blessing of being a part of it!!!

My eyes were finally opened to a whole new life of prayer and intimacy about 5 years ago. All I know is that I was desiring to know God more and willing to do whatever it took to become closer to Him and His heart for me and the world. I put my life "on hold" for 6 months for ywam... only to find out that it had been "on hold" for 27 years and I was just waking up for the very first time. Ywam was just a tool God u
sed in my life to allow me to be away from distractions and clearly hear His voice... and man, I am so glad He did.

We prayed so much as a corporate body that I almost got sick of it at first. God was training my prayer muscles during this time... even though I hadn't quite come to the full revelation of prayer yet and it's worth in the kingdom. Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon "prayer languages". To be honest, at first I thought it was pretty strange. I had been told so many things growing up about this and found it hard to believe in its importance. I remember asking God that if it was a gift He desired for me than I wa
nted to receive it. A few days later we were walking around a church praying over the pews for revival. I walked up to the cross in the front of the auditorium, knelt down... and something broke in me. All of the sudden I started praying in this language I did not know, but there was this beautiful interpretation in my head that was undoubtedly the heart of God. I realized that I was actually tapping into that heavenly conversation in that moment at the throne of God and praying in His will. WOW!!!!! Seriously, so cool!!!!

Since that moment Papa has shown my all sorts of things through prayer and it's now such an exciting part of my life and connection with Him. I'
ve found that instead of just telling someone I'll pray for them later I usually pray for them right then.... whether it's on the phone, in the grocery store, mall, on a busy street, or in a cafe. Whatever! The power and love these people feel is instant... straight from the Father to them.

I also find that when I pray for people I usually get a picture, confirming word, song, or scripture for them. Recently this has been happening a lot and it's amazing to see the receiver accept it and rejoice because of the personal love and confirmation God has delivered to them. A lot of times if I don't have anything specific to pray about God will bring it up during that time of meditation and petitioning. The key is to trust it is really Him who is speaking to you and not the enemy or yourself. If you prayed through those steps mentioned above you can rest in the fact He knows what He's doing... just m
ake sure it aligns with the word of God.

I find it so important now to realize that our battles are spiritual, but to spend less time intimidated by the enemy and more time fascinated with Christ. When we praise and worship Him in this place, walls in the spiritual WILL come down and we'll begin to see victory in the physical. Everything that comes into existence is something He already spoke. God wants to partner with us in bringing His very glory to earth. What He wants of us is to find these things hidden in His heart and with our faith in action bring the promises alive that move the answer (He already created) from the unseen to the seen. He really just wants to make visible what He's done and He wants us to receive the bl
essing of being a part of that. Man, He freakin loves us so much!!! I can hardly fathom it sometimes!!! Now when I read The Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 it really comes alive!

Bill Johnson, a pastor's sermons I frequently listen to, said..."God didn't leave us just so He could come back and rescue us, how else do w
e think His glory will cover the earth?" Basically He strongly believes, as do i, that we are not a factory that makes glory ourselves by any means... but we are definitely a vessel in which that glory flows through. Every prayer, every miracle, every salvation is a burst of God's glory on this earth that will continue to spread until His return.

I'm gonna end this with a story Bill mentioned that really hit home with me. It goes... A man was talking to his daughter about anchors of ships one day. He asked her how big of one you'd need for a boat that fits in a tub. She replied with her fingers slightly spread apart, "about this big". Then he asked her how big of an anchor yo
u would need for a boat that fit into a swimming pool. Her arms spread wide as she answered, "about thiiiiiiiis big". Then he asked how big of an anchor you would need for a ship in the ocean... and her arms could not reach wide enough nor could her brain barely fathom it. Then he said... "honey, God is promoting you to deeper waters, this means you need a bigger anchor...that anchor is PRAYER."

The life of the Apostle Andrew

"Accept me, O Christ Jesus, whom I saw, whom I love, and in whom I am; accept my spirit in peace in your eternal realm." According some historians, this was the last thing Andrew said after being tied to a cross tightly for three days in Greece for preaching the Gospel.
(This is a picture I took in Israel with a statue made to honor the disciples of Christ in the foreground and the Sea of Galilee, in all of its splendor, in the background. I'm amazed at how much the bible comes alive when you are standing on the very banks they walked and talked with Jesus on... )

Andrew and his brother Peter were both fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. Last time I was there visiting I went to a place right on the shore that had recently found pieces of one of the fishing boats from around that time they presume. I stood in this room for a long time looking up and down the boat trying to imagine what life was like for these disciples and the moment when everything changed for them. I have to say I got pretty emotional standing before this physical representation of the spiritual calling that Christ has on all of our lives. First, they encountered this man... Second, they watched Him and listened. And third... they came to know and love this person named Jesus so much that when He called them they were ready. These men put down their nets, abandoned all they knew and followed Him.

I also couldn't believe in that moment that I was standing so close to a boat that Jesus himself might have been on. Who even knows if this was the actual boat Peter walked out of to meet him, or the one Jesus was sleeping on before He calmed the storm!?! With all of that said... when Jesus called, Andrew was the first to respond and follow. It's said that Peter, his brother, was a fisher of men for the masses... but that Andrew was a fisher of men for individuals: emphasizing the significance in both.

It's pretty amazing to me that Andrew traveled as far as Russia, Turkey and Greece to share the good news of Christ even to the point of death. No matter how much pain He was feeling by the third day of hanging there on the cross, its said that Andrew was still professing the love of Christ to all who would listen. My desire is that I would have the same courage, strength, passion and stamina that Andrew had. We can learn so much from this one man's life.

Training for half marathon

This week I'm learning perseverance as I cross over the 3 mile mark. Everything in me wants to succumb to the lie that I'll never be able to do this or I may hurt my body in process. But every single time God gives me that extra boost of faith I need to make it through that run. I still find it hard getting excited for a long run, but I'm gradually getting there!

Tying in all together: "Occasional joggers do not suddenly enter an Olympic marathon. They prepare and train themselves over a period of time, and so should we in prayer. When such a progression is followed, we can expect to pray a year from now with greater authority and spiritual success than at present." Richard Foster

I realize that if I keep running I will build up the muscles I need to run the long race ahead... and see more and more victory in the arena's God will place me in. He wants to do the same for all of us. He knows what we can handle, but He wants us hungry for more. The more we are, the more He'll train us in those areas and the more we'll be prepared for... so we will not be injured along the way or have to quit the race. We are warriors of Christ and He's called us to be fishers of men... He desires for us to hand over our mind, body, soul and spirit so He can nourish us and build up our strength so we are fit to serve Him at full capacity and enjoy every minute of it- thriving instead of simply surviving. That's what makes us different and only He can do that in us!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week One

The Discipline of Meditation

"In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in "muchness" and "manyness," he will rest satisfied. If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, including our religious culture, we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation. Though it may sound strange to modern ears, we should without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer".

As I shared with you before, I'm reading and studying Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" during the next twelve weeks taking one discipline and focusing on it for the week. This week I spent an entire hour each morning in complete silence. Me... can you believe it? Ha. The girl who can hardly sit still unless she's sleeping or eating. Well... I practiced letting go of everything, asking the Lord to come and empty me of myself, my thoughts, fears, concerns, etc. I wanted to be completely empty in every way so that I could just sit in His presence and BE. It was pretty difficult at first cuz I'm a gal who likes efficiency, i find satisfactory in killing multiple birds with one stone. Haha. I like to get the MOST out of every single hour of the day, sucking life dry. So the thought of sitting and doing nothing for an hour made me a little nervous to be honest... until I realized that by doing nothing I was doing everything.

On Monday I sat... quietly. "What next?", I thought. I asked the Lord to protect my mind from the enemy's thoughts and my own so that I would ONLY hear His voice. I began to request that He'd reveal things to me or that I'd have a major epiphany I could share with the masses. Then gently but sternly I felt as thought the Lord said..."Who are you doing this for Lindsey?". Wow, my Papa really knows how to set me straight :) Suddenly I realized my motives had been off and He was beautifully drawing me back to the core of my existence. In this moment I could ask for nothing more than to honor Him with my silence, obedience and faithfulness... what He wanted to say or not say was His business. I would worship Him regardless because He is worthy of our praise... end of story. But what came of this precious time with Him was way more than I could have ever expected or anticipated.

Excerpt from my meditation journal: "Sometimes an intentional 'nothing' is the stillness in which something unseen and beautiful is being birthed to life."

I could spend this time going deeper into Foster's biblical research of Meditation, or the personal interpretation of thousands of scholars over the years... but more than our "evidence", this has to be a journey you desire to take for yourself. Yes, there is great value and treasure to be found in spending devoted time at the feet of our Savior... but YOUR eyes must become open to this truth. And I hope for your sake, your families sake, the people you do or could influence, and for the sake of the kingdom of heaven that you at least search for yourself.

"Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God's voice and obey his word...the truth of the matter is that the GREAT GOD of the universe, the Creator of all things, desires our fellowship." Foster

Sometimes it's quite mind-boggling to me that we could just quietly sit alone with an invisible God... and it blesses His heart? Wow! I mean, how many of us have ever had those awkward silent moments with someone we liked, respected, loved or were in awe of? Can you imagine what we'd say if our favorite singer, actor, or historical figure were to spend time with us? We'd probably announce it to the facebook world, tweet about it a few hundred times and try to decide what in the world we wanted to say to them so we wouldn't look foolish. But this is the CREATOR of ALL... and He's telling us we don't have to or need to do anything but sit in His presence and receive with an open heart, mind and soul.

In those moments with Him I wasn't necessarily being taught how to become a good child of the King.... but I was receiving His love in such a way that I was becoming that beloved daughter who takes delight and ultimate pleasure from spending time with her Dad. BE LOVED. It's simple. We are human beings not human doings. I guarantee that your time outside of this intentionally focused time will be even more productive than ever before so that even the mundane will become a beautiful worship to him as you begin to see how you fit into the bigger picture of it all as a child of God. Peace, balance, and grace become the elements that allow you to breath in deep the life you were created for. (This is called Otium Sanctum or "holy leisure" referring to a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves).

"The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to the inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely". Foster

As I read further into Foster's perspective and searched for myself in my own time in stillness, I began to wonder why meditation seems so threatening to us. Foster believes it's because, "it boldly calls us to enter into the living presence of God for ourselves." I know that years ago I used to avoid being alone at all costs because I knew I'd have to think about the way I live my life and honestly my flesh did not want to change... after all, it was fully satisfied. But my spirit was becoming weary of calling out for something more... doing all it could to shout above the madness I had become so comfortable in. The truth is... I was afraid. I was fearful that I wouldn't hear God's voice if "i tried", and even more worried of what the Lord might say if He did decide to speak to me.

What I didn't realize at the time was how madly the Savior loved me, how deeply He desired to connect with me, and how much He deserved ALL of me. He wanted me to believe and know that He really IS everything He says He is... He wanted to satisfy me like nothing else in this whole world could. He wanted to fill me up with true life so that I could walk out the rest of my days searching His great mysteries, digging deeper into His love, and becoming fully aware of His heart for this broken world.

And I hope when I say this you accept the complete authenticity of it... yes, the world has lots of tasty treats to offer that "feel good" and bring some sort of temporary comfort or ease, but there is nothing...NOTHING...that compares to even a moment with our Papa. Just us and Him. No preacher, speaker, author, radio station, relative, actor, musician, or lover can replace this time He desires to spend with us alone. Knowledge and understanding is good... but He wants our undivided attention so He can properly penetrate our hearts and leave us hungry for more as we posture ourselves before Him.

"The body, mind, and the spirit are inseparable. Tension in the spirit is telegraphed in body language. I actually have witnessed people go through an entire worship service vigorously chewing gum without the slightest awareness of their deep inner tension. Not only does outward posture reflect the inward state, it can also help to nurture the inner attitude of prayer. If inwardly we are fraught with distractions and anxiety, a consciously chosen posture of peace and relaxation will have a tendency to calm our inner turmoil." Foster

I do believe that we experience anxiety, fear, and turmoil because we are not deeply connecting with the source of that true peace. It's almost as if our soul and body are trying to tell us something. Unfortunately, we live in a world that quickly slaps a name on our uneasy feelings and hands over some numbing medication or a suggests we take a vacation from our problems :( I'm trying not to generalize here... but might I suggest we try meditating in His presence first instead of medicating???

The deeper my conscience has been going into the heart of God as I tap into this heavenly realm... the more aware I become of the perverse desires of my flesh. You would think this would bring guilt, depression, and sadness upon my soul.... but oh the contrary! I now find joy in the divine discovery of anything within me that might hinder seeing or knowing the great love of God so that I might throw these things off and receive even more of His goodness! As I draw near Him over time I begin to see myself how He sees me and that, in turn, becomes how I truly desire to live! There is freedom, healing, restoration, redemption, and glory found in His arms... why would we want to be anywhere else?

Richard Foster lists four different types of meditation that I'll share with you as a guide to get you going. I pray that you will plunge into the inner depths with HIM beloved.

1- Meditation upon scripture: Foster suggests we set aside all tendencies toward arrogance and with a humble heart receive the word addressed to us. Accept the scripture and ponder it in your heart, even if it's one chapter a week...enter the story, not as a passive observer, but as an active participant. Also remember that Christ is truly with us to teach, heal, and forgive.

2- Re-collection: It is a time to become still, to enter into the recreating silence, to allow the fragmentation of our minds to become centered. It might be good to start off by surrendering, releasing and letting go (palms down), then move on to a position to receive (palms up) not asking for anything... allow the Lord to commune with you.

3- Meditation upon creation: Foster strongly states that this is NOT infantile pantheism, but a majestic monotheism in which the great Creator of the universe shows us something of his glory through his creation. Personally I greatly enjoy my moments with God in nature and feel more alive there than any concrete building I've ever set foot in. Even the birds are singing praises.

4- Meditation upon the events of our time: This time is good to seek and perceive the significance about what is going on in our world and find our spiritual obligation to penetrate the inner meaning of these events, not to gain power but to gain prophetic perspective.

Overall, this week has been a huge eye opener for me in the world of meditation and our ability to connect with the Father in this simple way. I recognize the biblical value as well as the core desire to just be where God is. He is speaking every moment of every day, but how often do we become still enough to hear His voice? I desire to now apply some form of meditation into my daily life... not seeing it as another thing to put on my "to do" list, but instead acknowledging that absolutely nothing can replace that time with Him or satisfy my being like He can in His presence alone. He is the purification process in which our oxygen flows through that determines the quality of air we release the rest of the day to the world.


One of the most significant things about Peter, I believe, was His name. Side note: I encourage you to research the meaning of your name if you don't already know. What does God call you and why? What does He say that He believes about you... and do you live accordingly? Recognizing this could be a significant step in discovering your identity in HIM.

At first Peter's name was Simon which means, "to hear or be heard". And at one point when called by Jesus, he called him Peter which means, "rock". Now, there is much debate to what He meant by changing His name and what Jesus meant when He said, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail it..." Some say Jesus was referring to himself, others say to Peter's faith. I say probably both. I believe Jesus was prophetically speaking life into Peter and in turn Peter was beginning to see His identity in Him. At this time Jesus was still on earth, but He would soon be gone physically. Although we would lose His body, we would forever have the ability to house the spirit of Christ within us. So, in a way... He has built His church through us on HIM, the solid rock. Peter definitely had his place in the early stages of the growth of the church and went to great lengths spreading the authentic gospel of Christ before He became a martyr in the end and was crucified upside down because He didn't think He was worthy enough to die the same as His Savior.

Although, If Peter had a biblical resume it probably wouldn't have gotten him very far in the church today. It might have said something like this: spokesperson for Jesus, missionary, served some prison time, cut off a soldier's ear, denied Christ 3 times, refused foot washing by Jesus until He called him out on it, and walked on water until he became afraid and took His eyes of Jesus. Sadly, I don't know many churches that would hire Peter to clean their toilets...(I just want to quickly point out the irony in this picture. I took this when I was visiting Israel a few years ago. Here, we are in Capernaum beside the Sea of Galilee at the home of this "beautiful" modern-day church. But what you don't see is that it is actually built upon rock... also known historically as the house in which Peter used to live in. Somehow we've built an actual church building where the real church began and was designed to remain... long after it's founder was gone.)

This man's life has taught me a few things this week. 1- I think we have strayed far from the church Jesus designed to be built upon the rock. 2- Peter may have initially refused Jesus to clean his feet, but when He told Him that if He doesn't then He would have no part with Him... Peter quickly asks Jesus to wash his hands and head as well. 3- He may have taken his eyes off Jesus for a moment and sunk into the sea, but honestly... He was the ONLY one on the boat that even believed it was possible and gave it a shot. 4- Sure, he may have done some stupid things... but this man loved the Lord with everything He had, even to the point of death.

What really is the point of arriving safely at death? Do we wish to please the Father while we are on earth or are we all just waiting for our time to come so He can please us in heaven? How can we call ourselves successful if we keep doing the same things we already know how to do? Failure is when we stop seeking or stop wanting more. Man, He desires SO MUCH for you in this life. I challenge you (and myself) this week to DIG deeper into the heart of God by spending time sitting in His presence and finding contentment by being His beloved child. Will you humbly let Jesus wash your feet? Will YOU be a water walker? Even if it means you may fall a time or two... or three? Every single human being is so blessed to be a witness of the King, to have the very fingerprint of the God of the universe on our souls... no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you have done- HE LOVES YOU.

Training for half-marathon

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned this week is "PACE YOURSELF". And the funny thing is a few weeks ago a good friend told me that God is setting the pace for me and make sure I run with Him to that pace or I will wear out. Associating the physical with the spiritual is becoming a common theme in my relationship with God. Haha. Anyway... I ended up running for 3 miles, 3 days straight... did yoga yesterday... and Cardio core work today. Tomorrow I've decided to let my body REST and believe you me I am going to enjoy every second of it :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The twelve begins...

Welcome to the new blog everyone!!!!!
I don't know about you, but ever since 2012 began I've been feeling this incredible momentum that seems to be picking up fast. I sense the kingdom of heaven is advancing quickly and God is desperate for His children to become broken vessels strengthened by Him, trained, refined, purified, transformed, redeemed, restored, freed, healed, fit and ready to serve Him in complete abandonment! This is why I am here. And if you are REALLY ready to go deeper... if you have HUNGER for the Lord you can not satisfy anywhere else... then I'd love for you to run down this path with me with a pace He's set before us. This next challenge will go even further in preparing us mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally for what's ahead!!! As we begin to give our mind, body, and soul over to the glory of the Lord... the total transformation from the inside-out will be the most exciting adventure of your life thus far. If you are someone who doesn't quite feel the excitement of God gathering His kiddos together and prepping us then set time aside for HIM... clear your mind, listen, be patient, dig deep, ask for more hunger, be faithful, claim His promises, and praise Him no matter where you are in life. I'm telling you, He doesn't want anyone to miss out on this!!!

What exactly is "the twelve"?
There are three main things that I felt the Lord was calling me to do this season. After last year's blog: the 90 day extreme... I learned a lot about who God really is and who He says I am as a child. I also learned how connected the mind, body, soul and spirit are and how important it is for us to recognize this so we can truly glorify Him with EVERYTHING. I do strongly believe that when we see God for the truth of who He is and see us in His image we become recklessly abandoned for this faith and hope letting go of all that holds us back from serving Him wholeheartedly. With that said.... There are 3 main areas this little challenge or season will be focusing on.

If you still aren't sure who our Papa is or who you are as His child then I recommend starting with the first blog: For those of you who have been following that one, you might be ready for the next step. The "training" period. During the next 12 weeks I'm going to take the necessary steps for God to train my body, my mind, and my spirit. I want to be a fine-tuned organ playing beautiful music for His kingdom, I want to be a double-edged sword ready for the spiritual battles at any moment, I want to be sharp, quick, prepared so that I may honor Him and be the disciple I know He's calling us to be. Will you come with me on this journey??

The Story...
It all started back in November while I was in New Zealand working with YWAM. I had the privilege of being part of an amazing "training base" where people come from all over the world to go deeper in their relationship with the Lord and get prepared for global missions.

Often times we identify with the lives of the twelve disciples galavanting around the world with just a few personal items never really certain what we will eat or where we will sleep or what kind of shananigans we will run into....but God ALWAYS provides. I think this is what has given me such a love for these twelve men who followed the commission of the Lord so wholeheartedly. Not only did they believe in "the mission" but they believed and knew the main character of the story in such a way that their love for his sacrifice and heart for the world would drive them to giving up their own and following him.

One gorgeous day in new zealand I decided to go for a run. As I was jogging I felt like the Lord gently whispered, "You're a pretty good sprinter, you know that?". To which I replied, "Awe, thanks God...I like to go fast". Then he said, "Long-distance is not exactly your forte, is it?". And well... it was true. Ever since I was a young girl I avoided the long runs... my side would start aching, my knees would get sore, and frankly I was bored out of my mind! Then I truly felt like God said, "I want you to become a long-distance runner for me." All the sudden it hit me. Just like in the physical, I was doing the same thing in the spiritual with God. I had been going from one "good thing" to the next, sacrificing the bare minimum, giving very little commitment, moving on quickly before I got too bored. I realized in that moment there was so much I was missing out on by not going the distance....

Right then, when I made the decision to obey and go long distance for God something broke in the spiritual. I could almost physically feel the chains fall off and a new sense of freedom as I made this commitment... then something crazy happened. Believe it or not, I actually ran longer that day than I had in years and ever since then I have not had a pain in my side or knee trouble from running! God also told me that in order to transition into this new "running" position He was going to have to train me... much like one does for a marathon. Just a few days later I was talking with a friend of mine about goals for the year and she mentioned running a half-marathon. That day I decided to run the music city half marathon this coming April! Oddly enough it has a 12 week training program that begins today!

Oh... but that's not all. Also while I was in New Zealand God began to bring the "Spiritual Disciplines" to mind again. The more I began to research, study, and walk out wholeness... I saw how elemental these disciplines were to this journey. As soon as I returned in December I ordered Richard Foster's "Celebration of Disciplines" only to find out there are actually 12 of them!!! Can you believe it??? Is this starting to connect yet? Right then and there I knew a new challenge was developing that would take us even deeper into the spiritual realm and the heart of God, higher into the heavenlies, and closer to His throne.

So... there you go. You are welcome to join me in any or all of this or just read along in the blogs :) Either way we will all be challenged and I know find more treasure in Him the deeper we go.
Today as I was praying into this challenge I thought it might be neat if God sent 11 other people to do this with me. That way there is 12 of us, like the disciples :) Then, once we are finished we can encourage 12 others with these same type of challenges and so on.

The Week's Schedule:
1- Studying The Twelve Disciples: Every week I am going to take a different disciple and research them a little bit to go deeper into their lives... and how to apply the things they learned with how we are called to live today! Here's a list of them: (I'm just gonna start with Peter and work my way down)
2- Studying the Spiritual Disciplines: I am taking the Disciplines mentioned in Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" and actually practicing them. I'll take one discipline a week, focus on that one, apply it to my daily life... and then ask the Lord what ways it is relevant for us today. I'm also hoping to get some revelation and simply honor God with my time, body, money, heart, etc. Here's a list of them: (I'm starting with Meditation and working my way down. This week I'll be meditating for one hour solid a day.)

The inward disciplines-

The outward disiplines-

The corporate disciplines-

-Training for the half-marathon: During this time I'll be running 3-5 days a week doing yoga, some fast twitch, a little weight training, and plyo on the off days. If you need me to help you with a schedule just let me know!

On top of this I'm still trying to find a good healthy balance in life. I do believe that God wants to nourish us and the enemy wants to toxify us... and that shady little booger will do it any way he can: through our food, what we watch, what we hear, read... etc. I have decided to not watch anything throughout the week except the occasional movie on the weekends. I also want to try to eat as whole, raw, and fresh as possible during the week allowing myself some tasty treat on the weekend. You may find a different plan that works for you... but if you need help, please let me know!!

Excerpts from "Celebration of Discipline":
"God has given us the disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us....

They are our way of sowing to the Spirit. The Disciplines are God's way of getting us into the ground; they put us where he can work within us and transform us. By themselves the SD can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where soething can be done. they are God's means of grace. the inner righteousness we seek is not something that is poured on our heads. God has ordained the Disciplines of the spiritual life as the means by which we place ourselves where he can bless us....

Our world is hungry for genuinely changed people."