Friday, July 22, 2011

Lion's Dinner?

It was really only supposed to be background noise.
And so, I had relegated it to just that- at least until the Lord decided otherwise. 
And just like that, an Animal Planet tv show about the savannas reached out and grabbed me with this statement: 

Lions only go after prey that enter their own territory!

According to this narrator, there is no specific line in the savannas where one can see the area that belongs to one pride or the next.
Only one who knows that particular pride, or is familiar with them, could give warnings and indications if you are getting too close to the area that belongs to the the the the enemy.

Immediately my spirit went to 1 Peter 5:8: 
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour."

It is so easy to haphazardly wander into dangerous territory as we become distracted with the burdens, pressures, and propositions of the world, of life.
When our focus shifts to our good intentions and personal efforts, we lose sight of where we are.
We roam outside the circle of obedience, that place of safety the Father has created for us where His blessing and favor flow freely, and instead, find ourselves in the midst of the enemy's territory.

But just as one would be insane to leave their guide in the savannas, so we are when we take our eyes off of the One Whose wisdom will warn us if we are dangerously close to paths and areas infested with the enemy.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties  on Him because He cares for You."

Keep your eyes on the Lord, trusting His wisdom and guidance.
Even when you cannot see the very dangers He is warning you about, just trust.
He knows what you cannot.
You don't have to fret and plan ways to hopefully avert the dangers.
You just have to let Him be your guide.
Humbly surrender to His guidance.
Let Him care for you.

Being "sober-minded" and "watchful" means being focused...focused on God! NOT the enemy! 

Our problem is not a lack of watching our territory and steps...our problem is thinking that in doing so we will,by our own good intentions, out smart the enemy!
Don't step and then ask God to bless it or remove all the lions from it!
Ask the Lord if the territory you are moving towards is His to begin with!

Don't become the lions dinner.

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Keeps ur eyes on the Lord,ur hands about His work,ur mind in His Word,ur life in His hands.He knows.He cares

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Doing

"There are things that are easy to know...but hard to do."-Ryan Warren

This was the  ultimate theme of our day.
All of us have been receiving loads of this easy to know stuff in Bible Study, rec time, track times...and all of those things are great to know...but the truth is, they are incredibly difficult to do.

So after a phenomenal day of recreation time, lunch, track times, free time, and supper, we headed to worship.
Fuge worship-especially with The Seth Medley Band- is a powerful thing.

As we worshipped, the Holy Spirit showed me that He was stirring amongst the students in a big way that night. I prayed fervently that He would empower the pastor, the worship leader, Jarrett, myself, other chaperones to feed into and water that work the Holy Spirit had already begun to do.

It is so amazing to watch students-our students- worship with such freedom and abandon. Voices, hands, lives lifted high to Jesus, unashamed, unafraid.

The night was a challenge to move beyond the word commitment and instead move toward consecration.
It was a challenge to be devoted to Him and bold for Him...
A challenge to be connected intimately to Him and consumed by Him!
Easy to know...hard to do.

As we moved into church group devotion time after worship, there was just still such a sense that there was work the Holy Spirit still had work to do.
And wow did He ever!

Jarrett asked the question to begin with: "Does it bother you when you are disconnected from God?"

That question pierced us all in different ways, but for me, it ignited a Word from the Spirit that I could not contain.
I talked to them about needing to recognize the truth of whether they were plugged in to the Source- Jesus, or whether they were plugged into some outlet just for appearance sake, with no power running to it.
Because, if you have ever experienced power, you are going to do what's necessary to restore that power when there is a disconnect! 
You don't believe me?
Think about what you did the last time there was even a flicker of a power disconnect in your house! Everything stops and notice is taken!
So if we have truly experienced the power of God, when there is a disconnect, you are going to have a desire to do what's necessary to reinstate that connection!
So the question is are you plugged into the true power source?!?
When something is plugged in to power...there is evidence.
It's really that simple.

Our students are in the midst of checking their power source.
Are you brave enough to honestly do the same?

Some have boldly proclaimed their need for a Savior and have surrendered their all!
I have had the privilege of kneeling on this Panama City beach sand and hearing them cry out for God to save them and cry out for God to take them and use them!
I have been humbled to be a part of seeing them plug in to the Ultimate Power Source so they can pierce the darkness with the light of Jesus!

The only reputation we build by playing games, playing religion, is the enemy's.
No more game a transformer.
Get plugged in...shine His Light!
Be open. Be honest. Be His.

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Are u  plugged into true Pwr Source?Whn plugged into pwr...there is evidence.It's tht simple.Be open.Be honest.Be His. #FugePCB


Bound to You by my own hand
In Your grace alone I now can stand
Bound to Your freedom
A servant of Your truth
My Redeemer
Life of death now a life abundantly
A wreck restored
Broken made beautiful, useful for Him
My Redeemer
Transforming, transplanting His heart in place of mine
Intimate, extravagant Love
Fragrant, endless blood bought grace found in Him 
My Redeemer
Ransomed, rescued, ruined, restored, resurrected by Him
My Redeeemer
He is
My Redeemer

Monday, July 11, 2011


Camp has officially begun!
The students are pumped!
Why? Because they know that this week is an experience in the making.
But just what kind isn't up to us, the camp staff, their best friend, etc...
It's up to them.
The connection points are all around this week.
But THEY have to choose to plug in.

I have to choose to connect.
You have to choose to connect.
Connection is key.
Connections matter.
Connections are crucial.

That truth is the focus this week.

Ryan, our camp pastor put forth the truth this way:
"In order for there to be a connection with the Creator, there has to be a correction in the created."

Examining areas in need of correction isn't fun, but its necessary!
Why? Because disconnect leads to a void of power.
Jarrett posed this question to our church group:
"What isn't working in your life because of a failed connection?"

I am challenging myself to ask these hard questions and have the courage to listen to the Holy Spirit answer.

I want the ultimate connection with my GOD.
But I know that means radical correction has to take place in my SELF.

How will you connect with God this week?
Allow Him to correct your connection.

Keep lifting us up!....Julie

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In order 4 there 2 b a connection w/ the Creator,there has 2 b a correction in the created.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fuge Panama City 2011

Fuge Panama City 2011

We made it!
Well, almost, that is.
We're currently in a hotel near the camp location and will check in at camp just after lunch tomorrow.
Tonight, the students have had a blast swimming, hanging out together, eating loads of pizza, and generally taking run of the place!

We have been so proud of their conduct and attitudes on the way down and here at the hotel.
I pray it is indicative of the week ahead with this great group of students!

Tonight Jarrett challenged the youth to begin to thinking about the magnitude of the gift they have been given in salvation through Jesus Christ. 
And I couldn't help but wonder myself...

What does my life declare that I value the most?
My words can proclaim many things, but my life declares the truth.

If someone simply watched my life, and were asked that question, what would they say?
Would they see passion for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, passion to tell others about Him, passion to live out His desires?

Would they see a life being shaped by Jesus
a life trying to shove Jesus somewhere in the midst of it?

I am praying this week that we are all challenged to ask hard questions, hear hard answers, and do hard things.
I pray that whether for the first time ever or for the first time in a long time, Jesus would take His rightful place on the throne of our lives, and we would passionately, and with complete abandon, give Him the glory, honor and respect due His name!

What about you?

We would never simply just stay in the hotel this one night, then never actually go to the camp, yet come back and tell you how great the camp was.
What a waste of money, of time, of effort! How absurd!
What a pitiful comparison to the true reality of Fuge!....right?

Then why should any of us be content to come so close to a true experience with Jesus, yet leave without ever having actually gotten to the place where allowed His tranformation power affect us, boasting all the while of how great the experience was, that we have been where He is and allowed Him to dwell in us?

Empty words.
Empty actions.
Empty lives.

Don't be satisfied with "almost".
Let your LIFE say,  
"I made it! 
I have come fully into His presence...and I am forever changed!"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The End in Sight

Our last full day in Nicaragua! 
We began our day in a more rural area of Managua putting plastic over houses for the rainy season.
It was a great morning of work, with a good deal of walking in more hilly areas than we had been previously.
We split into teams and were able to finish about ten houses and leave the materials for the rest to be completed.
Our helper, who was a Nicaraguan even fell through a roof! Thankfully he didn't get hurt! An angel must have broken his fall! :)
We were all so glad we could get this work done after being rained out yesterday.

We ate lunch on the bus from Tip Top, a chicken restaurant, as we headed to Masaya to see a live Volcano!
It took about 30 minutes to get there.
The ride up to the volcano seemed  pretty stressful on our us, but we made it!
The smell of sulfur was rather choking at first, but once you see the majesty of the creation in front of you, that is quickly forgotten.
We walked up a gazillion steps to a gorgeous lookout point.
It was amazing!
Except for the yellow jackets, that is.
They were everywhere and just as we were about to walk down and I was going to have another pic made, I put my hand down on one and got stung on the thumb. When I pulled my hand up, the entire stinger and rear end of that pesky little fellow was stuck in my thumb!
Not cool!
Tayla got stung too-on the back.
As we headed down the volcano, our bus driver, Alberto, told us he had something or new something that would help.
A few minutes later, he stopped in the middle of the road. We followed him to what we figured would be an Aloe Vera  plant, but what turned out to be fresh mud which he piled on the area on the sting.
Those are some crazy pics to behold!
But guess what? It worked!
Neither one of us had any more swelling!
Praise the Lord!

We rode a little further and went to see Grenada, the oldest country in Nicaragua.
It was a beautiful place with a lot of history all around....and good shopping!
We had a great time getting great deals- or at least I did! ;)
The coffee we had was super and the atmoshpere of the little open air cafe was so magical and movie like to me!

We headed back to the guesthouse, ate supper, packed and weighed luggage, and then just spent time together,
Such a beautiful day in the physical and the spiritual today!

Time now for me to get to bed!
We have a church service at a local international church in the morning and Jarrett will preach.
Then off to the airport from there!

One last leg of the physical journey.
But I know it's just the beginning of the work has is doing in my Spirit!
Thank you Father!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rain, Rain...

And the rains came tumbling down.
For it to be the rainy season, we had mostly avoided rain, except for a couple of times at night. But usually the mission work had not been affected. Until today.

Our morning was an out-of-your-comfort-zone experience, but rewarding in so many ways.
We went to the only special needs orphanage in Nicaragua and spent time with the residents there. The people that were employed there were stretched to their limits in so many ways, yet they kept right on trying to meet the needs of these people that the world had forgotten. 
These were the forgotten of the forgotten.
It was really touching to see how different residents were drawn to different members of the mission team.
Each person was challenged to stretch their heart for Jesus by putting it into action today and loving on "the least of these". But in doing so, we found that there is a treasure there that maybe we simply hadn't taken the time to understand.

We had Pizza Hit once again for lunch.
When that little itinerary detail was announced, you would have thought Jarrett told the team we were going to Disney World!
It was hilarious!
But I have to admit, it was good! I was able to order in Spanish all by myself:)!

We were supposed to go put plastic over 20 houses, but the rain changed our plans. :(
So we headed to the market! I love getting to use my bargaining skills!
It was like a maze in there! Especially when we headed to the non-tourist part. It was like nothing I had ever seen. The entire area was dark and sketchy, with cow tongue, cow eye balls, various meats just laying there in the open for purchase. Just about anything you could imagine plus everything you would never want to was available for purchase there! It was just crazy!

After the market, we came home for a nice meal and fellowship. We played some games, got to talk with other missionaries at the guest house, and just enjoyed being together in this environment...even if sometimes it was with no power, or with no water, or amidst a swarm of crazy bugs, or within the sound of a blaring whistle, barking dog or birds.
Hey, that's Nicaragua for you. ;)

What was more important to us is that it was with those who we now not only call brothers and sisters in Christ- we call them our friends.

What great gifts the Father rained down on us today:
Fresh showers of understanding, showers of trust, showers of nourishment, showers of joy and laughter, showers of relationship and friendship, showers of rest.

Tomorrow we will try to put on the plastic on the houses in the a.m. and do the sightseeing I. The afternoon.
Pray that we can accomplish it all!

Until next time... :)

In Other News...

So in other news about our Thursday...
Today, we left Chinandega.
It was bittersweet because we knew we would also be leaving our wonderful translators today, too. They have partnered so wonderfully with us in ministry all week. Nadia and Rolando have been such a blessing.

We packed up the buses: one with the team and some luggage, the other just luggage.
And off we went for a 3 hour bus ride from Chinandega to Managua.
Things were going well until, you guessed it: we blew a tire. AGAIN!
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up!

We all piled out of the bus and climbed up a little hill to wait for the tore to be changed.
The students went off exploring in a pasture area behind us.
And then, headed our way, was a herd of cattle!
Again, I promise I am not making this up! 
And at the head of this cow drive is a big bull with crazy big horns, and a pretty ticked off look on his face.
We all started moving out of the way, but realized the students- and Kevin- were in the pasture we assumed the cows were heading towards!
They were so far away that they couldn't hear us. So Jarrett starts hollering and waving his arms and tells them to run! the students-and Kevin- were confused, unsure whether Jarrett was serious on joking with them!

But no fear, the cows were heading straight along the path and not the pasture, so all was well.
Tony even tried his hand at cow herding...after the actual cow herder on the green bicycle with the stick rode by, that is.

We made it to the guest house all tires in tack, praise the Lord!
It is a beautiful place with a tropical feel.
Very homey, with places for us to enjoy interacting with each other as team.
We are all in dorm style rooms together on bunks.

It sounds tropical, too. The birds are very.....incessant. ;)
But I do admit it is a beautiful sound. Just maybe not so much at 5am.

Heading out to a special needs orphanage today, which I am sure will once again call us out of our comfort zones, so pray for us.
Then we are off to put plastic over houses to help prevent flooding during the rainy season.
Everyone is excited because Pizza Hut is the lunch destination.

I personally would be happy to just have the pineapple we had for breakfast! YUMMM!

Love to all and thanks for all your prayers!

The Tour That Saved a Life

The next time God takes you on an extended tour of a certain area, even one you aren't too excited about visiting- you may want to stop and listen.
He may just have a reason for the tour.

This morning, God did just that.
We went to visit the medical clinic sponsored by the ministry we worked with in Chinandega. I knew about the clinic and generally what they did there, and had seen it several times as we had passed from time to time.
So today, in all honesty, I did not want to take time away from the mission work I had in mind- which was already cut to a half day-  in order to see the clinic...but we did.

I will admit, I was not too engaged in it all as we began our tour.
On top of that, the tour seemed to be taking much longer than I really cared to spend.
 But I did learn a lot about what they offered there and I also was able to pray for healing with a lady in the emergency area and that opportunity was a blessing for sure.

But I never considered that I would be  using the knowledge I gained on that tour of a that place I didn't really care to be...

We split up as a mission team- some of us going to do construction and feeding/evangelism in one barrio, and some of us going to do feeding/evangelism in another barrio.
I was with the feeding/evangelism in the same barrio with construction.
Because we got to the work we had purposes to do a little later than we had intended, we were in full gear trying to prep the trash bags full of food-with dull knives I might add- so that we could feed the children of the barrio by noon.
We finally got everything chopped and ready to be put in the big pot and were excited to visit the school there and go door to door to meet the people.

A precious lady, full of the joy of the Lord, named Juanita led us around and had the teacher spread the word for the children to come back to the school because they had left for the day already. And sure enough, they did. We gave them a table full of supplies and prayed over the school and the volunteer teachers, who were probably no more than 18 years old.

As we walked further on, Jarrett, Tony and the translator Rolando encountered a man who was open to hearing about Jesus and he invited them in his home. Praise God! He prayed to receive Jesus!

As they spoke with him, though, I noticed 3 women standing at a distance, watching. 
God said go to them,  so I did.
I began a conversation with them about the Lord and ended up giving them each a Bible because they attended they church there and said they knew Jesus.
As began to walk back, one of the women called out to me to wait and come back. She asked me if I had a medicine injection because her little girl was sick. I explained that I was not a nurse or doctor. But she press further for my help and asked me to come with her to see her daughter.
I was unprepared.
I could immediately tell that this 10 year old little girl was not well, just by the discoloration of her face and her eyes.
But then, she slightly raised the long shirt she had on and showed me her left upper thigh. It was the worst infection/boil I had ever seen in my life. I teared up and tried to hold it together, but in the Spirit I could feel the pain and could feel the immensity of the infection in this girl's body. The Holy Spirit rose up an urgency in me. I said I'm sorry in Spanish over and over again.

As my mind clamored for something to do, not just say, I remembered where I had been.
I remembered the tour of the place I hadn't care to go.
Where I had been, even somewhat begrudgingly, was about to collide beautifully with where I was to effect change.

I told them about the clinic, and was able to share with them the details I had not know prior to the tour. We called our missionary and got confirmation the she could go. Her family had no money for the bus ride, so we gave her enough to get there and back home.

After praying with her, I left with such a heavy heart for her healing.
I wondered if she would go tot the clinic at all.

The  team finished the rest of our work and we went back to Hotel Balcones, but parked around the corner, which was different than usual.
I stood waiting outside the bus for Jarrett when all of the sudden a little girl came up to me from across the street. She spoke very soft and quickly in Spanish and already being surprised by her coming up to me, I could not grasp what she was saying.
Then, she pointed across the street and there stood the mother of the the sick little girl...wait...this was the sick little girl!
Her mother has cleaned her up and put nice clothes on her.
She looked up at me with weak eyes and said thank you, hugged me, and limped back across the street to her mother.

She had come. The clinic was just 2 blocks away.
Her healing was nearby, and it was about to be realized in her life all because I had to spend time  in that place I had not wanted to go.

We later got a call from the pastor who is over the clinic while we ate lunch. The doctor told him that this little girl was seriously ill and that she was at risk of losing her leg. The medicine to treat her and her treatments were extensive, so our church paid for it. Otherwise, this little would have died from this level of infection.

Yes, God  had a reason for the tour. Even though to me it seemed like a distracting and unnecessary was a TOUR.
A planned tour that imparted valuable information for the work He had already purposed me to do, for the life of this little girl He was planning to save.