Jesus


Still Following: Resting and Enjoying His Presence

There is one thing I feel has been shoved in my face since the moment I got to Winston: the idea of rest. Not rest as in taking a nap or sleeping but resting in the presence of God. Oftentimes we can get wrapped up in the responsibilities of the day and what we need to do for everyone around us that we forget what we need. Just as children need time to spend with their parents, we need to spend time with our Father in Heaven. I don’t mean just spending time in prayer but actually spending time with Him. Learning about Him from His word, learning about Him while walking through the woods or at a park. We just need Him.

At the beginning of this year, I made it my goal to get up earlier than usual and spend that time just reading God’s word. I didn’t want to spend that time even talking to Him in prayer because I wanted to first become more acquainted with the person I was talking to. I just wanted to know Him deeper. I bought a book recently which has helped me a lot in that respect. It is called “Women of the Word.” It talks about different ways to look at and study the Bible. They are not focused on you reading the Bible to get something out of it or so you can have a feel good moment. The different ways they talk about are meant to help you read the Bible for what it actually is: a book about God. They take the focus off your heart and how we (myself included) read the Bible to make us feel good and instead help you focus on the story. You focus on everything you can learn about God within its pages.┬áIt’s a beautiful story telling of His love, character, mercy, grace, might and power. Of someone who is as fierce as a lion and as gentle as a lamb. What’s the best part you may ask? He wants to enjoy your presence too. How crazy is that?! The King of the Universe wants to spend time with you. I don’t know about you but the more I come to realize and appreciate that the more excited I get.

About a month and a half ago, I was listening to the Passion Conference online as it was going on and I had the privilege of hearing a woman named Christine Cain speak. I had honestly never even heard of her before that night but was absolutely blown away by each thing she said. She addressed the idea of greatness and how we as humans seem to have our heart set on doing all we can to make it to the top. A lot of times this causes us to forget to enjoy the process; To enjoy what is going on around us. I think the same can be true for those who aspire to go higher and higher in any capacity. We always push to be better, push to know more than everybody else, push to discover something new and exciting. In the midst of all the moving pieces we forget to enjoy God in the moment thinking we will only be able to enjoy God when we know the next thing or the next thing. We forget to acknowledge each blessing he gives us, each door he opens. God wants us to enjoy him right now where we are at. We may not be the lead pastor or the head of some organization but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t want us or that we shouldn’t seek to know him more. I think we should seek him and we should desire to go deeper but I also think going deeper in our faith doesn’t always mean going higher on the ladder. Sometimes you go deeper but God still wants you where you are at. He wants you to go deeper but to stay the secretary at the public school or go deeper and continue to be a barista at a coffee shop because he needs you there.

While Christine was speaking she highlighted one verse in particular: Exodus 33:11. It reads:

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Joshua lingered in the presence of God. He didn’t care that God only spoke to Moses at the moment. He didn’t mind standing on the outside while Moses got to go in. Joshua enjoyed simply being in the presence of God. To be like Joshua finding contentment on the outside is one of my deepest desires and to be quite honest I struggle with it each and every day. But I know even if I struggle with it every day for the rest of my life it will be the best struggle I’ve ever had. So come join me and let’s find rest in our Father together.


StoryTellers: Worship The Lord All Ye Nations, Praise His Holy Name!

Everyday, every week, every trip, we at Praying Pelican Missions witness God among us. We get to experience the BIG incredible life transformations, people coming to Christ, a house being built for a single mother – but we also get to experience the LITTLE moments that are equally incredible, but are completely different. The child who looks up at you and you see Christ in their eyes, the mother down the street who laughs so hard she doubles over as she dances with a team member. These are the stories that make up our weeks, days, moments. These are the stories of God among us, in the BIG and in the LITTLE. Follow along as we share… We are the Storytellers.

 

“Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” Psalm 150

Music is one of those things that can bring anybody together in any situation. When the music hits your ears it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what language you speak or what you had for breakfast. It hits you and your ears perk up. Depending on the music, certain memories come to the forefront of your mind. You may smile, you may laugh, you may cry but it’s all good and it’s all worth it. Some people can only listen to the music, some people can only feel the vibrations of the music on the instruments but then there are those who can play music, they can sing and make music. And with that they can usher people into God’s presence and give them the opportunity to experience God in a new way.

This summer, I had the privilege of getting to know and lead an amazing group of musicians. These musicians came with Praying Pelican Missions to Belize in July. They are part of a group called Guitars for Glory**. They are an organization based out of Rochester, NY. Their mission statement is:

“Guitars for Glory’s sole desire is to put guitars and instruments in the hands of churches, schools, missionaries, and orphanages. Our hope is to enhance their musical experience and build up worship leaders within the community; through the giving guitars and musical training.”

These musicians came with the sole desire to impact the community for Christ through music and it was such a beautiful and awe-inspiring thing to watch. We partnered them with a church in Belmopan, Belize called Casa De Dios (House of God). This church is led by an amazing pastor named Pastor Marcos Vargas. He has been wanting to do more outreach and his son, Marcos Jr, who leads the worship team has desire to learn more about worship and gain the tools he needs to lead successfully so we knew this would be a good match. As we started planning the trip, there were many different things that we discussed concerning how the trip should go. Do we make it a traveling trip? Should we have a worship conference every night? What about just concerts and music lessons? We sought God through prayer and asked for his discernment and wisdom in what to do. This was His trip after all and we were just humbled to be on it. We finally decided to settle on music lessons and concerts. We spoke with Pastor and he said he would gather people that he knew would be good for the music lessons and find places where we could do the concerts.

As the trip got closer and closer and the details came together, I can’t begin to express the level of excitement that began to build. The church was getting excited, my staff was getting excited (you should have seen us at our pre-trip staff meeting!) and of course Guitars for Glory was gathering all that they needed to come. Fast Forward a little bit…The trip was finally here. I was at the airport with my staff, we watched them walk off the plane and it was so exciting. They were here and everything we had been talking about for months was about to happen. There was excitement, a little bit of uncertainty and a beautiful chance for God to mold this trip into what he wanted it to be. As they started to come out with guitar after guitar, smile after smile, it got more and more exciting. We hopped on the bus and took off for Belmopan with a quick stop to take a picture and let everyone know we had arrived.

Once we got to Belmopan the real fun started. We met with Pastor Marcos, settled into our amazing accommodations at a local high school and really took a minute to breath and let God speak. The week was filled with amazing worship, beautiful relationships and unimaginable ministry. It was hands down one of the best weeks of ministry that I got to be a part of. God was near, you could feel him and see him in every single aspect of what happened. To see people worship regardless of if the music was in Spanish or English was beautiful. People were dancing and lifting their hands singing together as one to God our Father because music brings people together. Through simple instruments two communities became one, we were able to pull back the curtains and get a glimpse of heaven. People were able to learn more about worship in general and what it means to truly worship. They were able to pick up a guitar maybe for the first time and learn how to play. They were able to learn about harmony and truly sing as one voice. We played on streets of a village, in the room of an orphanage, and on the steps of a high school while it was pouring rain in a village in the mountains. God moved and we saw it. He used 20+ people who had nothing to offer but music and the willingness to teach to bring fire into the hearts of a community. To teach them about worship and give them the tools to do it. We are forever changed and will be forever grateful. God is a Good, Good Father because that’s who He is.

 

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Check out the other posts in our “StoryTellers” Series!!

Experiencing Culture Shock In My Own Culture

When God Answers Before You Ask

Serving Where You Are At

Different Kind of Mission Trip

Even in the Details

Old Eyes

Skateboards in the Desert

**if you want to check out Guitars for Glory and their Ministry you can find them on their Website or Facebook.