Posts Tagged Faith

Uncapping Your Vision To Match God’s

I was driving in my car tonight on my way to get a diet peach tea. It has become a favorite of mine, since I quit smoking almost five months ago. The only place that has the diet peach is Walgreens across town. But I don’t mind driving the entire two miles to reach the other side of this city. It’s kind of fun, because I can roll down the windows and sing in the car. While driving, The Motions by Matthew West came on the radio. It’s just impossible for me to sing the song. Nope-my passion for building God’s Kingdom kind of consumes me yet again, and I have to belt it out, singing loud, with my hands in the air (safe driving, eh?). It’s just so awesome to worship that passionately from anywhere.

Anyhow, back to the subject. I was thinking about how God takes an ordinary woman and changes her into someone who is fearless and ready to do whatever it takes to grow His Kingdom with her gifts, time, and talents regardless of the cost. I’ve never known a passion like this. I’ve never had such a large vision as this either. And I remembered the map.

Earlier in the evening I had visited my parents, and they have a wall sized (very large!) map of the U.S with hundreds and hundreds of push-pins in it representing everywhere a target sale had been made at a specific company. I mentioned to my parents that I wanted a map like that someday to put in my home office to represent every place that I had presented the life balancing workshops and taught Christians and churches how to maintain their focus on Christ while living a balanced life. Yes, I was already visualizing a huge map in my office with massive amounts of push pins representing every place I am priviledged to teach covering the entire thing! That’s a big vision!

In an instant I could just see how ridiculous that sounded to everyone on the outside. Here I am-one absolutely amazing and passionately crazy woman, with a massive vision to reach the world to heavily armor the churches and it’s people through proper life balance and alignment to grow the Kingdom and move them all into action for the glory of God. And here’s a map of the U.S with thousands of pins in it. The map is larger than I am. It weighs more than I do. And I have started this from ground zero.

But I see it, I believe it, and I am called to do it.

It’s a God sized vision to reach His people in this manner.

I know I can’t do it on my own. I will need the power of God to accomplish it. Between me and every city on it will be the opposition just waiting. But still, I believe and have faith. And most importantly, I have the passion to carry out my calling. Accepting my calling means relying on my faith in God.

Why?

Because as I drove, I thought about how we as believers can try to cap what God is trying to do. We think too logically and forget to include something called faith in our vision.

How logical was it that the Red Sea would part?

How logical was it to build an Ark of the size and magnitude that Noah built?

How logical that David would beat the giant Goliath?

How logical was it to believe that our Savior would be born from a virgin?

How logical was it that our Savior would be sent as an infant and not a brut?

How logical was it to believe that the son of God himself would rise from the dead?

My point is that we as Christians say we believe in a holy, powerful, and almighty God. But when we have God sized visions about the expansion of His Kingdom, we tend to want to cap it, because it is illogical and risky! That’s WHY it is FAITH!

Without risk, faith is not required.

It makes me want to stand upon a mountain and scream, how big is our God? Do we not think He is big and powerful enough to carry through the vision to expand and conquer?

HOW BIG IS OUR GOD????

How big is our God that we imperfect humans with limited mind capacities and creativity and of such small faith, feel WE have to be HOLD BACK to protect the God of the Universe and limit the very visions He has given us, simply because we don’t have the capability to comprehend the awesomeness of what He IS absolutely capable of!

Our we forgetting who God is?

Our we forgetting what He has already done?

Yet, when it is time to EXPAND, GO FORTH, AND LIVE BOLDLY for Christ by doing what we are CALLED by God to do regardless of how big the vision, we become pansies and put a cap on it!

Maybe you will not be the only person to complete such a large or expansive vision. Maybe God will bring others into the picture to work with you, or complete and carry on a legacy that you are building. But, if you do not start the project the way He intends, because you won’t lift the cap off, you’re limiting the potential of the vision you have been given.

In summary: Don’t let FEAR dictate what you can and can’t do. Let God determine that.

When I left my parents tonight, they informed me that they don’t want that massive map consuming the side of their foyer, so they gave it to me. So, as soon as we have a truck big enough to deliver it to my house, I will have the map I envisioned.

And I can start the uncapped journey God has set before me. One push pin at a time.

I am so excited. My vision is the earth and where ever God sends me in it.

What’s your vision?

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Rain Delays and Rainbows

I was sitting here thinking about a few things I am so anxious to do…like return to school to earn my Master’s Degree in Biblical Leadership. And I thought about how sometimes what we want to do gets put on hold for a little while. It’s similar to wanting to play a sport in a way.

Imagine…
You’re playing baseball and you’re up to bat next. It’s finally your turn. The excitement is mounting as you picture yourself taking the action you’ve been waiting for, striking the bat against the ball, watching it sail outfield, and you finally have the chance you’ve been waiting your whole life for…to run the bases and slide into home plate.

You see it,
You feel it,
You hear it,
You feel rain drops…

Rain drops?

It’s your turn, but you have to wait as a storm approaches and runs it’s course.

Sometimes in life we encounter set backs. And maybe when those rain delays hit and our plans are postponed for awhile, God is busy working out the details. Maybe he’s building an opportunity. Maybe he’s building a bridge by connecting people that we don’t even know yet who will eventually connect to us. Maybe he has a solution that is being put into motion as we speak (or write). And even though we can’t see or feel it right away, we can be certain that God can use a delay to benefit us…prepare us…bless us in ways we would never guess.

So instead of crabbing at clouds that we can’t control, go out an play in the rain. It just may be the break you need to see clearly when the skies clear. After all, who can follow a rainbow if they can’t even see where it starts? Play in the rain and praise God for His blessing as you wait on Him.

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3.5 Ft. of Faith

Last weekend, I took my daughter for an entire day of fun at the City Pool and water park. I had been working on preparing for a Happy Hour (Life Changing) Workshop tour, so I promised her that Saturday was ALL hers. She chose to start at the zoo and then head to the water park. Little did I know that we’d be at the water park from opening until closing. Yes, we had that much fun. And it wasn’t a relaxing sunbathing day for me. It was in the water, wrestling with her, holding her up so she could jump off of my legs/shoulders, and racing her in an Olympic sized pool. After six hours, I was hungry and EXHAUSTED, and almost too exhausted to cook and eat anything!

I got to thinking about the fun, but very tiring day we had. For those who know me well, you know that I will not get in a pool if I cannot see, stay away from, and never come close to the drain. I am absolutely MORTIFIED of them. Okay, and yes, even worse…when I stay in a hotel and take a shower, I must keep one eye open and on that stupid drain in there. I just don’t do drains. I don’t like them, I won’t touch them, I won’t save anyone drowning near one (just kidding…I think…thank goodness I’ve never had to find out! If you ever go swimming with me take a third person so you have a back up person to save you if I chicken out!), and I flat out will not get into a hot tub unless I can keep my feet off the bottom. Ever. No way, no how, I am soooo seriously terrified of drains.

When my daughter asked me to race her from one side of the pool to the other, I declined. I wasn’t about to swim over one and have to pretend it wasn’t underneath me, and not look down even though I would know it was there. To me it was clear and present danger and I wasn’t going anywhere across that pool. I was staying close to the edge of the pool. I know they won’t hurt me technically (although I did see that they have had to change the design of them in recent years due to safety issues, ha…I was right!), but it doesn’t matter. I’m a chicken.

Okay, to get to the point of what I started thinking about regarding my faith…

I am a prayer warrior.

I’m a little woman who cannot wait to get her Master’s Degree to learn more about Biblical Leadership and use it in the world to change, equip, and help lead growth and create leaders in the Kingdom of God.

I know it will be a battle, but I am confident about putting on the full armor of God to do so. God will equip me with exactly what I need and I trust Him.

I am SO willing, EAGER, and ready to go and DO whatever God asks me to do (and in fact, I feel like Owen Wilson and the other little Roman guy from A Night At The Museum…they were two very tiny guys who were so ready to just go and fight the fight not thinking about how small they really were. They were fearless and ready to go now!!! That’s how much I want to do this!)

So, if I’m that willing and eager, and have faith and trust the Lord to walk blindly and just go…then how come I couldn’t swim across the pool with my daughter because of my drain phobia? I trust God SO much that I can fight a mighty battle and stand for His Kingdom, but I’m afraid of a swimming pool drain that is going to do…what? What’s it going to do? It’s not like there’s a trap door under the grate. Is there?

Regardless, the message hit me. I prayed in the pool, tucked my feet up (never came close to touching the bottom of the pool…man, I kicked like there was a shark coming after me) and swam with my daughter. I swam for six hours with her and had a blast! And after a period of time, I found myself venturing out further, deeper, and getting involved in a lot more of the pool games!

How many times do we let FEAR keep us from doing what we really want to do. And what’s more, how many times do we let FEAR paralyze us and not do what God is calling us to do?

If He’s called us…He’s equipping and strengthening us with every act of obedience. We have to be obedient and go to the first place He calls us, in order to get to the next place. Each successive place we go for the Lord will equip us for the next.

Faith AND trust will ELIMINATE fear.

Amazing what I learned in 3.5 ft of water.

Now I can move to the deeper parts of my faith 😉

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Footnotes

After re-reading my journal and my top ten list here on my blog, I’ve had a few additional thoughts. It occurred to me that maybe the church planting in my top ten list is related to traveling to churches and other places to teach a message about life balance/involvement to enhance the churches that are already being planted. AHA! I love those moments. So, maybe I’m not going to be a church planter, but I will be involved in churches planted to move people within those churches into action for the glory of the community and His Kingdom.

That’s awesome.

God will place me where I am to be. It’s like holding onto an airline ticket with no destination printed on it. Not until after I’ve surrendered and boarded. I’ve done that. That’s trust, man. Let’s see where this thing lands…

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Roller Coaster Calling

I was thinking this morning (umm…me thinking anytime is dangerous, much less before 8am) that living God’s calling for my life is much like being on a roller coaster at an amusement park.

EXCEPT:

I don’t know which direction it will turn all of the time.

I can’t always see the track.

If I look too far ahead it gets confusing for me, because God is still building that part of the track, but I can rest assured that it will be done by the time my cart gets there.

Sometimes I have to climb slowly and persistently to reach the top of a challenge before I can coast downhill for a while.

Some parts are scary and some are fun…I am asked to reach too high, go into tunnels and areas where there is no light, and put my hands into the air and not hold on.

But in the end, when my roller coaster finally stops, and I exit in Heaven, it will have been the most ultimate ride of a life time.

When stepping out to live the calling the Father has summoned you for, GO! Just remember who is in control of the roller coaster you are on and have faith. Things won’t seem so scary anymore.

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Change In Plans

When I left work tonight, my evening agenda started unraveling beyond control. I didn’t take my lunch hour until 4pm, so I could meet the appliance repairman at my house. Sunday while I was doing laundry, my front loading washing machine was leaking water straight through the bottom, and it was no minor leak either.

So, this evening my schedule started by looking like this:

4:00pm, Repair guy to fix washer
5:30pm, Dinner at the Anchor with family to celebrate Grandma’s b-day
7:30pm, Surge at church

Not too bad, and that’s what we had planned on for this evening. But, little did I know, it would all change.

Here’s how it really went down:
4:00 Arrive home with headache from not eating lunch all day and desperately needing a snack.

5:00 Still no repair guy

5:05 Call Aunt to have her pick up the kiddos and take them to the restaurant so they don’t miss
celebration with Grandma.

5:15 Dad arrives to pick up kids. How that changed is beyond me, but it works!

5:20 Repairman calls to say he’ll be here in 10 minutes.

5:40 Call Dad at restaurant. Family hasn’t ordered yet, so I meet them there. Repairman said it might be another two days for the part. It’s okay, we’ll just shower and wash clothes when the neighbor turns on his sprinkler system.

6:45 The kids don’t want to go home just yet, so they ask if we can go for a drive around town. I have 30 minutes before I need to leave for bible study, so I agree.

6:50 We see a really cool house for sale. It’s only $245,000. Can I just write an IOU and we’ll just move in tomorrow? Never mind, I can’t spend the stimulus package like that. Oooops, sorry!

7:00 We’re about to head back home, when we see two teenage boys, one of which is laying in the street with his bicycle next to him, and his friend talking to him. My son realizes the boys are in his class at school and he is friends with them. He thought the guy laying in the street was “kind of hurt” and joking about it.

My son has me pull over and jumps out of the car to catch up with his buddies for a laugh over a fall off the bike, oops kind of thing, but realizes that it is far more than a silly “ha, ha, ha” type of incident. I see cell phones coming out, so I get out of the car and go to inquire about the seriousness of any injuries. The young man thinks he broke his wrists and can’t get up off the pavement unable to put pressure on them. So, I stick my arms under his arms and around his chest to lift him up without hurting the wrists and get him to the side of the road.

He’s in some serious pain and he’s doing everything within his power to control showing his emotions. We moved him out of the street and offered to get him home, make calls from cell phones, etc, but he lived just a few houses down.

I know, long story. I didn’t make it to Bible study tonight. Instead, I was in the right place at the right time to help someone in need. It’s not about what happens in our churches as much as it is what happens when we are outside. What do we ignore? What needs are we meeting? And then are we pointing them to God, Christ, and our churches?

I know, more questions. Questions are good! They make us think! They stretch us to the “what if’s” and allow growth and problem solving! They challenge us to learn and become more. So, if my questions bother people, I make no apologies. I don’t want to change that! Why should I? What does positive change mean for people’s lives? See? More questions! Ok, I’ll stop for now.

When I got the kids back home after dinner and all the other activities, my daughter told me she really needed some clothes washed for tomorrow. So, I packed a basket full of laundry and took it over to my parent’s house to wash it. Yep, I was missing Bible study tonight. I was big time disappointed as it’s something that I do look forward to every Wednesday. For me, it’s like eating cereal with no milk if I miss it. It feels like something is missing. In this crazy and draining world, Surge is something that gives me a boost or hope in the middle of my week.

But, tonight I just wasn’t going to make it. NOT!!!

When I got to my parent’s house, I pulled my laptop out of my bag, put the laundry in the washer and checked my email. And there it was…a reminder about Surge being on ustream.tv tonight. Oh, was I one happy camper! Pulling up Surge online made me think of the kids who used to get so excited over the radio shows before the days of TV. Not that I am old enough to have ever seen any of them…really, I am not!

I pulled up Surge online and began to watch it. And the best part? Pretty soon, I am not alone. Curiosity set in. My Dad got to see how Bible study and the church is utilizing technology formerly only seen in the business world being used to reach the people in the world for Christ. Had I not been doing a load of laundry tonight at my parent’s house, I couldn’t have shared the link and information. Yeah, God!

So, by not making it to Surge tonight, I got to help a young man injured laying in the street, and show another person that Christ can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and through the latest technology. Woooohoooooo!

I have to admit, my evening took on a whole new perspective when I thought about how my agenda fell apart, but I feel that God’s agenda was met. What does it mean exactly? I don’t know and that’s not the point. The important thing for me is to just let God lead while I follow and do what He calls me to at the proper time. Had I waited to help that teenager in the road, he could’ve been hit by a car behind me. Timing is important! And I think the real lesson here is not my timing being the controlling factor, but trusting God’s timing.

It’s definitely been something I’ve been learning about. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy until I trust God and let Him be in control. Then I find it really does become easier. A lot easier. Even if it means I am not in church or where I had planned on being. I need to consider the surroundings I find myself in and reach the people around me…where ever that is.

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Learning To Live In God’s Time Zone

(This was written February 22, 2009…. Update: As we approach 2012, I am celebrating three years smoke-free, without relapse, no cheating, and complete peace. Thank you, God 🙂

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Five days ago, something significant occurred. I drove to our church to meet a small number of individuals who were attending a conference together in Texas. We each had our small suitcases jammed with three days worth of clothing and necessities. We each also had a sack full of goodies for the road. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, except my backpack was packed with three times more goodies than the other folks’, so what was of such great significance? That I had more candy? Hardly.

I hadn’t told anyone but my family. In fact, my kiddos were the first to know! But, my church family hadn’t a clue. I put my suitcase in the van, buckled my seatbelt, and grabbed a book I packed to read along the way. Mum was the word! I knew that I had a couple of very long and challenging days ahead of me, and I didn’t want to send everyone in the van into a panic. Therefore, I chose to remain quiet about the significant event taking place at that moment.

The first day came and went. On the second day of the conference, I decided about 10:30 that morning that I needed an ice cold Pepsi. During a break, I looked at the line to the coffee shop and knew I’d never get through it in time to return before the break ended. I spotted a “greeter” and made my way toward her friendly face. I thought that she would certainly know where I could find a pop machine.

I asked her where the nearest soda fountain or machine was located in this massive facility, and her response nearly sent me into cardiac arrest! She said, “We don’t have soda on the premises at all. There isn’t even a coke machine in our break rooms. But, we do have coffee and tea with caffeine in them.” I think the look on my face was more than desperation. It was total DES-PER-A-TION! No soda? Are you kidding me? What place on planet earth doesn’t have soda/pop/Coke/Pepsi/carbonated stuff? Apparently, I found it. In Texas. And too top it all off, it was during this significant event in my life! (All of the sudden, I wondered where my trust in God went?)

I knew that coffee and tea were not the answers. Number one, I hate coffee. I only drink it at certain times, and it can’t be just regular coffee. It’s nasty. Two, tea is for when I’m sick. No, I do like tea, but again, when I want a Pepsi, I need a carbonated beverage. Tea isn’t a substitute. Imagine going to McDonalds and ordering a combo meal-Big Mac, large fries, and a hot tea? No, you are expecting the Coke. So, if you’re only choice is tea, it’s really awkward.

I walked back in to the main area. It was suggested I drink coffee to cure my “lack of caffeine” headache. “Oh well, no big deal!” Say what? No big deal? I had to disclose the significance. At that moment, I told the few who were around that I had quit smoking, and it was not a headache from lack of caffeine. I needed the Pepsi to counteract the need for a smoke break. I was doing fine, but when I didn’t have pop all of the sudden, it was like taking EVERYTHING away all at the same time! It’s kind of like dieting while you quit smoking. It’s not going to work if you give up eating and smoking at the same time. Work on them one at a time for maximum success, right? It requires focus!

I was seriously so ready to walk to the nearest store which was probably 10 miles away. No, I wasn’t going to buy tobacco. I just wanted the pop! Is that not crazy or what? I had no desire to walk and buy cigarettes. But, I was in a triathalon mode to get pop. I would’ve ridden a bike, run, and swam forever just for a Dr. Pepper! It had me wondering, what is my true addiction here? Pop or smoking? I’m obviously giving up smoking before cutting out any pop.

I realized that once the group understood the significant event that was taking place, there were some very kind and understanding individuals who worked with me to get the keys out of the locked center, so we could make a pop run at lunch. Let me tell you, when desperation sets in, creativity just flows! And I wasn’t the only one who was needing a pop. There were a few surprised individuals upon learning that soda wasn’t available! Longer story short, we found a store and got everyone’s soda. And just for future planning, I bought a 12 pack to leave in the van. Yes, even when it seemed bleak for me, there was a way to get the pop. And then I was fine!

Now you are probably wondering why on earth I planned on quitting smoking while away on a church event? Why would I not tell everyone what I was doing before hand? Well, the answers are simple.

First, the reason I didn’t tell anyone I was quitting smoking on this trip was because I didn’t want them to make me ride in the trunk. Honestly, if you tell a group of people that they are the lucky individuals who get to sit next to you for hours on end while you stop smoking, go through withdrawl, and possibly get cranky, what do you think they will do? At the first bathroom break, they’d “accidentally” forget that I hadn’t gotten back in the van and take off! Okay, well maybe that’s just me. At least that’s how I envisioned it. Maybe I am the only person then that would think that? Hmmm… (That’s funny-and a joke 😉

Second, I really wanted to quit smoking, but I didn’t choose this conference to be the time/location. That I give credit to God for. Longest story short: I had been praying to God about my smoking. I prayed and conversed with him for months now about this habit and my sincere desire to quit. But, I knew (and He did as well) that I was really addicted to the nicotine. I mean REALLY addicted. So, it was nothing that I could do on my own.

I prayed to God and just kept conversing with Him as I do all the time. But one day in particular, as I came inside from a smoke break, I remember telling Him that I thought I could do it…REALLY do it, if I could get out of town for a few days with a few non-smoker friends. I felt I needed to change my routine, keep busy, and have support from friends. As I approached the front door, I remember saying to God that I didn’t have any friends who would go out of town with me or support me. And the few friends I do have are smokers. That was not going to work. I don’t want to give up my colleagues who smoke-but they just weren’t the one’s to help me quit. That was obvious! I let God know in my prayers and thoughts, that I was ready, that’s what I felt I would need to succeed, and I just asked Him for help, courage, strength, and a solution. I was clueless.

Two days later, I received an email from our Pastor about attending a three day church conference. It was taking place in two weeks. Wait! Two weeks? Wow! I had planned on quitting smoking, but not exactly in two weeks! Maybe I could wait and quit the following month?
Not quite. I knew without a doubt that the invitation to the conference was part of God’s plan. He answered my prayer. He answered it with all the specifics I had talked to him about! And, what was I going to do? Tell Him no? No, thanks? I will quit later?

Absolutely not! I knew right then and there, that God had given me exactly what I had been praying and asking Him for. I was serious in my prayers, and He was serious in His answer! He provided me what I’d asked for…and more! Now it was up to me to take it, GO, and DO IT. He couldn’t do it for me. I had to do it. It was my decision. And I was not about to give in. I couldn’t. I was serious when I prayed and conversed to God. And, I didn’t take His response lightly. He provided what I thought I needed, and I knew that He would be right there with me as I started this journey. I felt so blessed. Blessed to know that God was providing the opportunity that I’d sincerely asked for, and also to be learning so much at the church conference.It was time for me to start acting like a leader in the House of God.

I guess that I was nervous in the beginning, but as I thought about how God orchestrated these events, I knew that my faith in Him, my trust in Him, and sincerity to Him would get me through even the toughest times as I gave this habit up.

It was the first time in my life that I had to make a choice of this type and very quickly. God provided the opportunity, the tools, and the people. All I had to do was live up to my part to go, do, and believe in Him and His promises. I had to go and have faith in Him.

I’m so glad I did. Today it has been five days since I last smoked. And truthfully, it hasn’t been as hard as it was the last few times I tried to quit. It’s been something I can’t really put into words, other than just to say it’s been easier, more peaceful, and I’ve struggled less while enjoying it more.

On the way home in the church van, I kept reaching and patting my shoulder. I felt that I needed to press my nicotine patch down tightly on my shoulder. And then I’d remember each time that I am not using the patches. I have no nicotine replacement therapy at all (not even the gum)! As I grabbed my arm one last time while watching the sunset over my shoulder, I wondered if it was possibly a “spiritual patch” I was thinking about and pressing on. It felt like God had put a patch on my arm (his hand) to help me through this ordeal. One word-three letters: WOW!

I am thanking God every day for this opportunity to be smoke free. I am also very humbled, and I know that this is something I couldn’t have done without Him. I honestly feel like a new person. I feel like a much stronger person. But all that aside, I have experienced first-hand the answering of a prayer, and finding the courage and strength to go when and where God’s plan determines when He sends the answer. When He says go now, and I was planning on going later, I know what the benefits are of leaving when He determines is best regardless of any fear I have. I learned to listen to God and trust Him. And because of that, I have succeeded more than I could’ve imagined possible.

Thank you, Father God, for the encouragement, peace, opportunity, love, support, strength, hope, contentment, knowledge, willpower, and friendships you have provided to overcome this obstacle in my life.

I am here, use me! I now can say that without feeling like a hypocrite hiding in the shadows smoking. Thank you for everything, God. Thank you so much for the valuable lessons in this obstacle.

Thank you for teaching me about trust. God, I know I can trust you. Where ever you lead me, I will go! Whenever you say it is time, it is time. I don’t care what my watch says.

Thanks, God! I am now relying on your time zone-not mine.

Amen!

Copyright 2008, Christine Pechstein, Move Into Action/Seasoned With Salt

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