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YWAM update August

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Hello everyone!

Summer is drawing to a close here in Discovery Bay. We hope you have enjoyed the sun, friends and family as much as we have this year.  In July, we were able to drive down to visit family in California and New Mexico. We were so blessed by those of you we had a chance to see in person.  The kids sure had fun playing with their cousins and friends.  God even helped us to manage such a loooong drive. His grace was sufficient in every situation we faced.

 

Since we got back we have been busy, along with the rest of the staff, preparing for the upcoming Discipleship Training School. The DTS starts September 22nd and will run until February. As of now we have seven students confirmed, but are expecting more to confirm within the next few weeks.  As we have been praying and reviewing the student’s applications we have felt that this will be a season of healing and growth for them.  Most of the students are between the ages of 18-23 but we do have a couple who are older.  Each one comes with their own story and struggles. Isaac and I know how life-changing our DTS experience was. This kind of community setting and Bible training provides a catalyst for God to move powerfully in people’s lives. By the end of a DTS we have all grown in the Lord and in relationship with one another. We feel like family!

 

The leadership has decided that the outreach location for this DTS will be a combination of China and Mongolia. We will spend a total of 6 to 8 weeks in these countries. The team will spend time in a providence in China that is a majority Buddhist and Muslim. Christians in this area experience a lot of persecution and are often ostracized from the community. I am not including the name of this providence intentionally because it may pose a risk for our group. Our YWAM campus has sent missionaries on a consistent basis to this location since we started in 2009.  It’s really awesome to have this connection and everyone is excited to go back. We are expectant and enthusiastic to see how God is going to work in the lives of these students, and in those we meet on outreach.

 

Lastly, wanted to give a financial update.  We have a consistent donation amount averaging about $800/mo. This is great and covers our staff fees! But our campus guidelines require a family of six to raise an average $1,900/mo. in donations. So, we are still fundraising and hoping to partner with more individuals who want to support this ministry. If you want to start supporting our family through giving financially you can do so by going to the address below. All donations are tax deductible.

https://www.ywamdb.org/donate

 

We want to thank everyone who generously supports us financially and through prayer. Without your partnership, we would not be able to fulfill this calling God has placed on our hearts. We are passionate about sharing Jesus with the nations, and about training up youth to do the same!

 

Please pray for:

  • God to bring the students he wants to be a part of this DTS.
  • For each student to raise what they need financially for DTS & outreach.
  • For open hearts allowing God to do a transforming work.
  • For open doors in China & Mongolia.

 

“And then he told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Mark 16:15

God Bless,

 Isaac, Kristi & the Crew

YWAM update May/June

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Hello friends and family,

We hope you have been enjoying the nice weather that spring brings.  Out here in Discovery Bay we have had mostly sunny days, and it has been so awesome! There is something wonderful about spring and new life that reminds us of God’s goodness.  He loves to give good gifts, and brings him pleasure to see his children enjoying the world he created!

Aside from enjoying the beautiful weather, we have been busy helping with TESOL. The base had ten students successfully complete the course which wrapped up last week. These students were incredibly dedicated and passionate about using what they learned to impact the world. I interviewed a couple of them so I could show you a piece of their hearts.

 

“God has given me a love for languages, and I know I’m supposed to use it for His glory. That’s why I decided to do the TESOL, so I can be qualified to teach English overseas. It was a big step for me to come here and do this! It really stretched me spiritually, and intellectually. I love the community here. I felt very convicted and encouraged by it.  Through my experience here, God has taught me that He is big enough to take care of me as I venture out into the mission field. God’s heart is so in missions.”      – Bethany Tanaka, 20-year-old from Poulsbo, WA

 

“Doing a TESOL was the next step for us. God has given us a vision to be a bridge to the Korean people. We plan to move to Korea within the next few years and plant a church. There is a lot of division in the international community, even between Christians.  Having the knowledge, we gained through TESOL is like a tool in our tool belt. It will enable us to bridge the gap through teaching English, and open doors for the gospel. We are so excited to be used by God in this!”

-Noah & Bora Wilson, from YWAM Salem, OR

 

Something cool about the Wilsons – They are a young couple in their late 20’s. Bora is Korean and Noah is from the East Coast. They met while serving with YWAM (like so many people do!) They now have two precious children, Jinha and Jubliee, and serve at YWAM Salem. It was awesome to see their heart for Bora’s home country.  Each student that came had an intentional reason for completing TESOL. And almost every one could tell you how they plan to use it in the mission field within the next few years.  It was really cool to see how our base is a stepping stone for future ministry to take place.

 

UPCOMING:

Leadership Training Seminar (or LTS, you know how YWAM loves its acronyms!) is starting on June 11th. Isaac and I will be two of the 18 students attending that. This is the first time our base has run an LTS and we don’t know exactly what to expect. We are excited though, and hope to be stretched in our leadership skills.  Isaac will be leading worship several times a week for the seminar. It is a 3 week, intensive course and so we have in listed help from my family in taking care of our kids. That is a blessing to us, and will enable us to focus on the course.

 

Lastly, I have taken over (for the most part) YWAM DB’s social media accounts. That’s our Instagram, and Facebook. In today’s world the main way people are going to learn about our ministry is through these outlets. We have an awesome facility here, and really great staff – we should be running bigger schools. Despite good intentions, it seems like our social media presence and relevancy has been lacking. So, I’m really excited to be working on marketing the base. The only problem is… I have no idea what I’m doing.  I’ve been reading articles about how to market through social media, and Isaac and I are drafting up ideas about a promotional video. So, that’s a start! God has stewarded YWAM DB to us, and we are responsible to do our best with what He has given. We want to see this ministry grow and change more people’s lives!

 

How you can pray:

  • God opens doors for the TESOL students and enables them to fulfill the dreams he gave them.
  • That God will help us to focus, and get all that He has for us out of the LTS.
  • That we will be able to balance family time with ministry/school responsibilities.
  • We will have wisdom and open doors to manage the bases media marketing. Word spreads about YWAM DB.
  • That God will bring more students to YWAM Discovery Bay

Thank you all for your love and support! We are so grateful for you.

Blessings,

Isaac, Kristi & the crew

YWAM update – Moved

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Hey everyone!

We hope this update finds you well. I wanted to write sooner but we have been very busy. Our family has made the move out of Poulsbo and into Discovery Bay! We are so grateful for the family and friends who helped us load and unload all our stuff. Moving is hard. It’s always more work than I remember. Isaac and I have been working on unpacking and learning the base schedule. Right now, the activity level is just beginning to pick up for the staff.

The next school is a TESOL and will begin late April. It’s really neat to see how the previous DTS students love this place. Being a part of this ministry truly changed their lives. Two of the young women who just finished DTS are going to come back to do the TESOL! Our base is multigenerational and we expect this next school to be a mixture of ages – A retired pastor and his wife, a family with little children and some young adults to list a few.

I didn’t know what a TESOL was before getting involved with the base. TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It is an incredible tool for missionaries because it opens the doors to share the gospel. English is the world’s language of business and many people are eager to learn it. Word on the base is that this school is INTENSE – lots of homework, and long class hours. This is an accelerated course. The payoff is worth it though as those who complete the TESOL will be certified to teach.

Yesterday we welcomed a group of Jr. High boys from South Carolina. They come to YWAM DB every year as a part of their school outreach trip to the NW. They will mostly be working in the community, but have meals with us and sleep in the boy’s dorm. These guys are just the sweetest southern gentlemen! They’re very polite and helpful. We’re praying God changes their hearts and grows them, as they serve those in need.

I took the kids for a walk the other day. Although it was chilly, the sun was bright and the sky was a beautiful blue. They had so much fun running through the field near our house and playing in the woods. I just had this sense of peace wash over me, and I thanked God for bringing us to this season, in this new place. As we form relationships with the people here and begin to learn our responsibilities Isaac and I want to be purposeful in remembering this is all for Gods glory. Whether leading worship or gluing paper crafts for the next school. Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God!

Financially we still need to raise more monthly support but we have enough to cover our staff fees (so we can live here! Wa-hoo.) I’ve had several people tell us they want to give but have had trouble with the site. If you want to donate but need help, please feel free to email me and I will try to help. The website is https://www.ywamdb.org/donate.

Thank you for all your generous support financially and in prayer! We really do think of you and pray for you. I have this grand idea to make a video showing the base etc. So maybe next time I can include that for you all (if I can get my creative husband to help me!)

Blessings!

Kristi

YWAM update – Ready to launch

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Hello everyone,

We wanted to update you on our journey in missions and share a little more of what we will be doing on the YWAM base this year. Isaac and I will heading up all music and worship for the base. This includes leading a six week music ministry school! (i’m super excited about that.) We will disciple the students who come for DTS in September and play a vital role in ministering to them while at YWAM Discovery Bay. Isaac is going to be in charge of all the bases promotional stuff, which includes creating graphics and managing the website, along with co-leading the team of students on outreach. I’m not sure where yet, but I will let you know when we find out.  I’ve been given the responsibility of writing the monthly newsletter (that also sound like a fun job to me.) Of course, we have plenty of other responsibilities that are not exclusively fun like – cleaning, cooking, general yard work and administrative tasks. 

The kids are going to have an awesome time being a part of all the activity which goes along with living in a community like YWAM Discovery Bay. I’m hoping other families come to DTS this year. We could potentially have a little Sunday school type of program for the kids while the adults are at their lectures each day.  It’s going to be busy, but I’m of the mindset that you can do anything with kids you could have done before… it just may take more time, and will probably be more complicated.   🙂  

We’re ready to launch!

Our hope is that we can move onto the base next month, but in order to do that we need to raise $800 in monthly donations. YWAM Discovery Bay has a strict policy which basically states that all staff must have raised at least 90% of their support before moving on base. This is just to protect the family from struggling and becoming financially burdened.

Maybe that sounds like a lot of money… Maybe it IS a lot of money and it seems unlikely, or even impossible, to raise that much support in a month! It’s easy to get doubtful. But then I am reminded that the God we serve majors in doing the impossible. Nothing is too hard for him. Who am I to limit Him? Or put Him in a box? Instead I will put my hope in Him and trust.  Where he leads he certainly provides.

Would you prayerfully consider how you may be able to support us as we serve with YWAM?  I realize that not everyone is going to be able to give financially, and we never want anyone to feel guilty about that.  Our family is very grateful – we want to thank everyone who has been praying for us and supporting us financially for the past few months.  You are a blessing to our family and we are thankful for your partnership. We could not serve this ministry without you!

If you would like to donate you can do that by going to:

https://www.ywamdb.org/donate

The best way is to set up a recurring payment. That way the base directors can count this towards out staff and will go for the remaining $800 we need. If you have any questions please leave me a comment below and I will answer you as soon as I can!

Please pray for us as we work to raise the last portion of our finances and make the move to Discovery Bay. Thank you! 

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

In Christ,

Isaac & Kristi

We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope

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Since Isaacs accident in 2010 I’ve encountered a handful of families who have gone through traumatic accidents.  I connect with them because I can relate. And I try to encourage them by our story.  So many people did that for Isaacs family and I when he was in a coma. It really helped us to know others had gone through the same thing.  It gave us hope. And now hope is what I want to give to those I find in similar situations.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

So when I read the story of a baby boy who was in a coma after nearly drowning in a bucket of water, my heart was broken for the family. I sent them a message and told them we were praying, I shared Isaacs story and offered hope for healing. For our God is mighty to save.  The Houston family is a family in my community. Craig is a pastor at a local Baptist church. He and his wife Emily have ten children (gotta give them props for that – so awesome!)

Craig and Emily had been out of the house while their older children watched the younger ones. The youngest, 11 month old Lemuel, got downstairs and fell into a bucket of water. As soon as they found him, his brother started CPR. They called 911, and Lemuel was transported to the hospital where he was revived. Everyone did everything right as best they could. Baby Lemuel was unresponsive and in a coma, but he was alive.

You can read the news paper article here —> Kitsap Sun News

The Houston family was amazingly strong and reflected Christ in their suffering. I have been so encouraged by their faith and steadfast reliance on the Lord.  Through all the heartache, they have been the light of Christ. For two weeks sweet Lemuel remained unresponsive in the hospital. His family surrounded him, sang to him, held him and loved him deeply. Hundreds of people joined together in prayer, doctors and nurses did everything they could and we all waited, hopefully, for healing.  I was confident this little guy would wake up. God healed Isaac, of course he would give life to this innocent baby! So I was in shock when I heard Lemuel had passed away. His parents held him, and all was peaceful as he went to be in Paradise with Jesus.

You can read his parents blog here —> Houston Blog

When I got the news Lemuel had passed I cried with a heavy heart for the Houston family. I prayed, “Why God? Why did you let this happen? I don’t understand.” I felt angry. Not at God, but at the reality of death and loss.  I know in my heart that Jesus hates death and loss too. He wept at Lazarus’ grave even though he knew he would raise him from the dead! Why did he weep? I always thought it was because he empathized with the sorrow of those who loved Lazarus. Jesus went to the cross to kill death and put sorrow in its grave. No longer does death have the final say – for those in Christ have hope of REAL eternal life. C.S. Lewis believed the life to come is more real than this one and I believe that must be true.

I remember laying in a hotel room, wondering every night if Isaac would live or die. I had to let go, moment by moment, and put my hope in God. Whatever happens, my God is still good. In Christ alone my hope is found. I remember coming to a place spiritually where I said, “I trust you God, whatever happens, I still love you. You alone have the words of life.” And though our story has had trials, God chose to restore Isaac. I am grateful everyday! But what if our story had a different ending? What if the man I loved had died? What if his family and I had been forced to say good-bye? We certainly would have walked a different road of healing. And I will never understand why God does what he does. All I know is we must give him glory whatever situation we find ourselves in.

My family and I grieve with the Houston family. I cannot imagine the depth of sorrow felt by the mother who has to bury her baby. Or the grief felt by the father who must let go of his son. The regret and heartache felt by siblings who wonder “what if” things didn’t happen the way they had.  They will always miss this sweet son and brother.  But their faith has been evident as they hold onto the hope they have in Jesus Christ. Death is not the end of the story. God always knew what would happen on that day, and He is an expert at bringing good from the bad.  He gives grace upon grace.

Like the Houston family, we must continue to trust that God knows better than us. We must believe that He saw it was better to take Lemuel to Heaven, even though it leaves his family broken and on a road of healing.

“We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope.”

Join in prayer with us as we continue to remember this dear family. Jesus loves them deeply, and enters into their sorrow. I know he feels with each of us – with them especially, as they grieve. May Jesus use them, and be glorified through them as they continue to hope in Him.

Our God is mighty to save.

~Kristi~

 

Christmas Stories

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It’s almost Christmas and I can’t believe it. I’m really excited to celebrate this year because my kids are actually old enough to understand why we have Christmas. We’ve been doing advent with them and it’s so awesome to see them taking the meaning to heart.  I’m also excited for them to open presents (kinda the selfish part of me) because they are going to have SO MUCH FUN! I think I have fun through them. I remember the excitement and anticipation I felt as a kid going to bed on Christmas Eve, knowing that in the morning we would open presents. So i’m really looking forward to my kids experiencing such joy.  Isaac really loves Christmas too… like much more than any person I know.

I remember when I first met him in New Zealand (6 years ago) and we were gearing up for the holidays. Christmas over seas is different. But Isaacs mom was so sweet and sent him a box all the way from America filled with stockings, little finger puppets, Christmas cookies and candy canes and some other fun stuff. He loved it! Especially the finger puppets, because you know, a 22 year old “man” is really just a big boy in disguise. Here’s one of my favorite Christmas memories.

One time in New Zealand Isaac said, “I have a surprise for you tonight. I will meet you at your house at 7.” I said alright and was excited when, later, he knocked on my door.  He beamed at me in the porch light. He was wearing a Santa hat and held a stocking full of stuff. “Grab your hat!” he said. It was cold outside so I quickly threw on my jacket and beanie, and met him at the foot of the stairs.  “Here, put this in your ear,” he said as he handed me a headphone earbud, “Okay…” I knew he was up to something great now. The voice of Elvis Presley filled my ear as I recognized the song “White Christmas.” “It’s not snowing, but we can pretend.” Isaac said with grin. Then he handed me the stocking he was holding. “This is my Christmas gift for you.” He told me. Why was he so charming and sweet! I opened it and pulled out candy canes, little notes, chocolates, ginger bread men, and my favorite – fruit the he made look like kiwi birds. He had cut little beaks, legs, and wings out of paper and then taped them to a banana, an apple, and two mini oranges. I laughed when I saw them and thought to myself, “he really likes me! he’s so creative!” After that we just walked around listening to Christmas music and talking under the stars. That was a sweet time, and probably the best date i’ve ever been on.

Isaacs great, genuine, fantastic love of Christmas baffled me a little… until I met his Father! the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – to borrow the expression. And my dear father-in-law now holds the record for “Biggest Christmas enthusiast” in my book. I guess Isaac got it from him, but I love it.  I’m so glad my family loves Christmas and likes to do fun traditions.

There are so many angles to look at when we think of Christmas. I’ve been blown away lately as I think on Gods plan of redemption.  If you know God then you know it is SO in his character to do something that would appear unassuming and humble – like having his Son be born in a dirty stable. Angels announced it, and wisemen sought it, but the rest of the world just slept right through it. The plan of setting all things right began with a humble God clothing himself with flesh and entering our sorrow. From the beginning of his life to the end Jesus did not cling to the fact that he was God and deserved greatness (Philippines 2:6.)

Small beginnings right. Everything in God kingdom reflects this. The last becomes first, the weak is made strong, the lost can be found, the slave can be free, the broken is mended and the dead is given new life. God is amazing like that.  I think he likes to do impossible things.  I’m so grateful for that! Because if God is for us, and loves us so much that he sent his own Son, nothing is impossible for us in Him. And, I don’t know about you but I have many things that seem impossible to overcome. Even just living a sane life with four children seems impossible somedays!

This Christmas lets remember who (and what) baby Jesus in a manger represents – Nothing is too hard for God.

Merry Christmas!

 

Trust/support update

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I think we could write hundreds of books about what it means to trust God. I’ve been a Christian a long time but I can’t say I have figured it out.   Maybe it’s because I keep having to “relearn” everything.  I keep wrestling with the same questions i’ve had since I was 15 – just in different forms. Trusting someone I can’t see is still mysterious to me. What does it mean to trust God? Why does “trusting” God feel like jumping off a cliff?  And am I just supposed to blindly free fall with my hands tied? I wish I could be so solid in my faith that this was easier.

We know God wants us to trust him. It’s important.  So important in fact that the Bible uses the words “Trust” and “God” over 200 times in the same sentence.  Jesus often called God father and spoke of how as a parent God meets his children’s needs (Matthew 7:7  is at least one example.)

So i’ve been thinking on this and trying to imagine what that feels like.  What does it feel like to trust God? I didn’t have to go far to picture it as I live with a house full of little ones that trust and depend on me.  I have a six month old daughter who will not sleep unless she is touching me.  She cries when she hears the vacuum or anything loud. I’ve seen her get scared and immediately her eyes go searching for me. Once she hears my voice or sees me smile she calms down. Why? Because she trusts that I am protecting her. I am the source of her security – her refuge.  My older children have learned this too and apply it in other ways.  Is it safe to explore a new situation? Can I climb that tree? What if I fall? What if I am rejected by the new kids? My three and four year old look to me in these situations and if I give the okay they completely trust everything will be okay. Even IF those bad things happen mom and dad will make it better.

It’s just astonishing to me that God in his infinite might and glory IS that loving and compassionate to us.  He actually desires we trust Him like a child trusts their parent. Total dependance. Total hope. Fearless and free. I think God loves the chaos and dissonance we go through as we struggle and overcome. Like a parent, He has wisdom and stands tall along side us as we learn to be like Him.  When we struggle, we still have hope because we trust our Father knows why and will make it right.

 

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is GOOD!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8  

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

 

 

As scary as free falling may be I believe I can trust God through it.  May we cling to our Father today and make Him our refuge.

 

I wanted to give a quick update on where we are at with our support raising for YWAM.  We’ve raised about a fourth of our needed support! We still need to raise $1750.00 in pledges. Isaac and I are very grateful for those of you who have chosen to support us in prayer and financially.  I am blown away by the generosity we’ve been shown.  We continue to trust that God will provide everything we need.  I’m going to attempt making a video sharing more about how we plan to be involved with YWAM. If Isaac helps me it will be cool… and if it’s all up to me it will be CHEESY (then you can blame him for leaving it up to me.)  I’m thinking a vlog is probably the best way to connect with people so be looking forward to that!  If you’d like to donate you can go to www.ywamdb.com.  All donations are tax deductible.

Thanks! Blessings, Kristi

Moment Redeemed

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I spent some time helping my aunt this weekend. She recently bought a storage unit full of stuff without knowing exactly what was in it. The previous owner of the unit had passed away and it was auctioned off.  The contents of the unit proved to be a surprise to her, as she moved it all into her house and garage.  As we sorted through boxes and bags, we discovered many of the items had never been opened. There were packages from Macy’s with brand new sweaters inside, and boxes of items ordered online and then stashed in the closet. Most of these things were new around the 80’s and 90’s time frame, but they had never been opened! There was so much of it.

This reminded me of when I was a kid. See I had this TERRIBLE problem. It was bad. Like I should have been on the show “My strange addictions.” I used to go around the house throughout the day and find things I liked or thought were useful, then I would take them and put them in my dresser drawer. Weird. I know.  This included, but was not limited to: Candy, money, toys, clothes, stickers, kitchen magnets, gadgets (like nuts and bolts) rubber bands and tooth picks… (ya never know when you might need one a them right!?) My mom called me a pack rat and rightfully so.  I always thought I might have a use for these items later, but in reality they just sat in my drawer. FOR YEARS. Until I was old enough to realize this was a ridiculous waste of space and emptied the darn thing.  Anyways…

So here I sat, opening boxes of old, new, unused gifts. Strange paradox huh. I think I spent the whole two hours wondering why the woman had bought all these things and then just stashed them.  I mean, I know some people have hording issues (like I used to) and maybe this was her way to “fill a void” in her life. But really it made me kinda sad. I opened a box of papers she had saved from way back when and out fell a paper towel with something wrapped in it. As I pulled apart the paper I found dried rose petals.  They must have been precious to her as she had saved them for years.

Made me think of the dried roses I keep above my kitchen cabinets that have meaning to me. Bouquets from the first Valentine’s Day I spent with my husband, my wedding flowers, and my sister’s wedding flowers those type of special things people save.  But now I’m staring at her special dried flowers wondering what moments in her life she must have cherished represented these? Days gone by.  Gifts unopened.

The brevity of life is haunting when it hits you. When you remember that you are just dust and breathe which will soon return to the Maker.  No one is exempt from this fate, and when we are reminded of this truth we try our very best to put it out of mind. Yet even though they are uncomfortable reminders they serve a purpose if we let them – to spur us on to live to the fullest with the time we have.

Now I’m going to share a secret with you… and you might think I’m odd… but here goes – I don’t think cemeteries are creepy (usually.)  When I was younger I used to help my family clean up our local cemetery because my grandpa was in charge of it. I would sit on the headstones and lay in the grass.  Often I wondered whose life the crumpled names represented. It gave me this healthy reverence for the fact that I am alive today, but someday I will just be a name and a memory.  I don’t like death – Not one bit. I hate the loss death brings. No one is immune to it. And honestly I’m afraid of dying.  But how beautiful is it that the soul is eternal? As I walked over those headstones, even ones that belonged to my great grandma who I loved, I am grateful that she lives today (very much a live) with Jesus.

What can we say about today then, since we still have breath in our lungs. I think we waste too much time on Facebook, TV shows, anger and worry! Think about your life … what gifts do you have stashed away in the closet (Not literally of course, those might be for Christmas!)

What gift of your time, your love, your talents, your creativity, your passions might you have stashed that you can give the world?  God has specific things for you to do with your precious life that only you can accomplish.  He has set dreams in your heart on PURPOSE. Are there things hidden in your soul that you have a desire to do but you always tell yourself “I’ll do that someday”?

If not now – then when? If not you – then who?

I want to make the most of my time and this is personally something I am working on because it takes balancing.  There are some practical things we may need to figure out to accomplish those dreams (like for me… where to contain my kids while I write a book…) but Someday is TODAY. And today is all we may have.

So please don’t stash your gifts! Take a step towards using them. Be bold with your life and live with eternity in mind.  For the wise, living Word reminds us:

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”

Ephesians 5:15-17

Worship Night

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My family and I have slowly been getting involved with the YWAM base in Discovery Bay, WA. For the past two weeks we’ve gone to the bases “Community Worship Night.” Honestly I was a little hesitant to go because I didn’t know what to expect. We have four kids who are all so little (and noisy!) As a mom I knew my main focus was going to be trying to keep them quiet and since i’m hobbling around on crutches I feared that would be difficult.

But wouldn’t you know… God is so good. His unfailing love goes even into the small details of our lives. When we got to the base and walked into the building where worship was taking place we were met by loving smiles. We have been so blessed by the base staff, I just love them to pieces already! Our children immediately joined a handful of other kids who were playing the prayer room just a few feet away from where we were sitting.  These other kids are the children of the staff members. They have titled themselves the “Stafflings” – which I thought was pretty adorable. They are a few years older than my kids (6-11 years old) And they like to take care of the little ones. I’ve been so impressed by their kindness and love towards my babies.  It gave me peace to watch them play.  It was like my soul gave a sigh of relief!

Isaac and I were both able to really engage in worship… something that we haven’t done with a whole heart in a long time. I felt the overwhelming love of God cover my heart, filling it to the brim and I remembered how deeply intimate Jesus knows me.   It was good to be in God’s presence and experience His love.  How quickly we forget! We all need to experience His love like that. I think that’s why worship is so vital to our spiritual life – because when we remember who He is – we remember who we are. We are filled up to pour out.

At one point during the night I glanced over at my husband. With both hands raised and voice lifted to heaven he looked in his element.  He was in God’s presence, and for a moment nothing else mattered or existed.  Joy fluttered through me as I remembered seeing him like that once when we were just friends. His passion for Jesus was contagious and he wasn’t daunted by what people thought of him.  That was one of the things that impressed me about him – he loved Jesus genuinely and was not ashamed to show it.  Sometimes the worries and distractions of life suppress that love from shining through us and we don’t live it out like we ought to.  Sometimes we forget what really matters.  We forget who we are.  But despite our inadequacies the Spirit is still alive in us and He longs to reveal His unending love to each of us.

God shows us grace upon grace when we seek him. One of His greatest desire is that we would truly know Him. He just wants us to come – whatever state we may find ourselves in.  I think the only requirement is that we are open to Him – honest – with hearts looking to receive.  Seek him and you will find Him – because God wants to be found.

I hope you will find time to worship Him this week. You will not be disappointed!

Oh and hey! If you find yourself anywhere near Discovery Bay I highly recommend joining us next Monday at 7pm for Community Worship Night.  Isaac and I are going to be leading the worship portion with help from the lovely Megan Kinjorski (and hopefully a few others.)  To Jesus be all the glory forever!

Blessings,

Kristi

 

Whose Nation Is It Anyway?

usa

Did you watch the presidential debate? I did. And after a brief episode of disbelief and amusement, I spent some time researching Trump, Clinton and Johnson.  I’m still surprised that these are our only choices for president this term. I’m really disappointed.  I know i’m not alone in that – Many Americans don’t like our potential candidates.  Lets be honest the only reason they are in the running is because they have money.  I promise I will not make this solely a political post! This is, of course the topic of heated arguments and disagreement between most people right now.  And my goal is to be an encouragement not promote discord.

But it’s easy to get spun up about what will happen if the wrong person ends up president (or in this case either person!)  What if they aren’t wise? What if they cause more economic problems? What if they ruin our military or send us into more war? What if they take away our hard won freedoms? Those are legitimate concerns and YOU need to be educated about who you vote for this year. “But all my choices are bad! It’s a tie between the Liar and the Loudmouth!” You argue. Yes… that seems to be the case my friends, but we need not be worried because God is still on the throne.

“Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He has all wisdom and power.  He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”  Daniel 2:20-21

That’s the TRUTH. Immovable and eternal God controls the course of world events. He is still the potter and we will always be the clay. Clinton and Trump are not exempt from that!  They are clay.  God will do what he wants to do and no one changes that. However… sometimes God allows us to experience the negative consequences of our actions. The actions of world leaders always effect the people they govern.

If you know the Bible you will know that there are many times in history where God set bad leaders in power just so he could use them to display His glory.  Men like King Nebuchadnezzar, King Xerxes, Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Pharaoh is a good example. He was an extremely powerful man, and he controlled the important kingdom of Egypt.  He used the Israelite people as slaves to build his kingdom, but then God called Moses to set them free. Every time God sent a plague Pharaoh initially gave in, saying he would set the Israelite’s free, but then changed his mind (hardening his heart.)  God said to Pharaoh,

“By now I could have lifted my hand and stuck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth.  But I have spared you for a purpose – to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” – Exodus 9:15-16

“So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.” – Romans 9:18

Now this gets into some deep theological stuff that’s really interesting (and somewhat controversial.)  I’d encourage you to read all of Romans 9 to get a better understanding of it. But the fact is God used Pharaohs bad to accomplish His good purpose. Every time Pharaoh got prideful and refused to let the Israelite slaves go, God did another miracle – showing the world His awesome power.

I don’t have an answer for why God allows bad things to happen to good people and I cannot say we won’t endue hardship in the future regardless of which person becomes president.  Sadly, “One Nation Under God” may not be a fitting title for the USA anymore as her actions become less and less in line with obeying God – and that is a super scary place to be.

No one knows what God is orchestrating with the nations in the coming days. But we can take heart in this – He is always in control and He is forever good. He never falls off this throne or losses sight of what’s happening in the world (or in your life.) All people, nations and time it’s self belong to Him.  Our good father does not abandon his children, but will go before us and help us through whatever happens in this life.

“For God is King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm. God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne.” – Psalm 47:7-8