Saturday, August 29, 2009


The orientation service with all Elevate (Day and Night schools) was awesome! Everyone is so deep and I really enjoyed hearing the testimonies/encouragements from the staff and leaders. After that, we all enjoyed worship led by James Mark, and just really basked in the presence of the Lord. The first song played was "So Good to Me" by Cory Asbury. One of my favorites. I was dancin' and jumpin' around and it was so fun, I just didn't care. The joy of the Lord was so real and it just bursted out of me!

I had the epiphany today that I'm not who I was. A year ago, 6 months ago, 3 weeks ago. And the funny thing is even before I had that realization, other people have noticed the difference. The purpose in doing Elevate is not to get all my t's crossed and i's dotted for God. It's not to earn my way to heaven, thank the Lord! And it's certainly not for show. It's b/c God stirred in my heart and told me he had more for me. That he wanted to take me into a deeper revelation of who He is. Deeper revelation of who I am and what it looks like to really know my identity in Christ and walk out in it. To know my Creator and Savior in an intimate way.

Today I dialogued with a coworker, Eric, who used to bring my files to me at work before I switched teams. At first I thought he was kind of a strange guy, and that it was better not to get too involved in conversation b/c you could just never get out! (At that time, I had more production demands on my job and talking time was limited, but now I am mentoring so there's more leeway.) Well, I'm not sure it all happened, but I just started sharing about how I was busy (oh it was b/c he had asked if I was still biking)...and that led to me talking about Elevate and my faith. I then asked him what he believed and if he was a Christian. He said he believes in a higher being b/c it would be stupid not to, but he didn't want to pin a name on "the being."

He talked about his uncertainties with the accuracy of the bible. He was of the opinion that it was just another book. I asked him if he believed it was a living document and that it could change people's which he replied yes. He said the heart of the bible is good and if you can get past all the denominational discrepencies and find that meaning, then it's good. I told him how the bible had transformed my life. It does have those crazy books like Leviticus where so and so begat so and so...but it also has the words of Jesus, the words of life! And sooo so many promises from God to his people in the Old Testament that we can still hold onto today.

So without getting too into apologetics too much, we discussed heaven and hell and how you get to heaven. Talked about the difference between “good works” and “faith.” I talked about my experience growing up in the church and having to redefine my faith even now and not put God in a box. I told Eric that God designed him for a specific purpose, not just to work at the VA, but that his ultimate dream for Eric would be for him to put his faith in Jesus. Fullness of life cannot be found apart from God. Jesus said he died on a cross that we might have abundant life. But it’s a choice. God won’t make us puppets or slaves to his love. He wants us to choose to love him. Thus, it’s our own free will that frees us to love God or makes us choose a life of sin and death. I think I had a greater understanding of this after reading The Shack.

Anyway, we talked for a while but halfway through he said, “I usually would not say something like this b/c I don’t believe in the supernatural…but when you were talking, your face and around your became radiant! You have such a confidence and assuredness about everything you are talking about and I respect that so much.”

I was grateful when he assured me he wasn’t trying to come on to me, he pointed at his wedding band and said I am a happily married man and I love my wife, but I figured I should tell you that you are radiating.

The last thing he said was that he doesn’t know God is real. I encouraged him to ask the Lord to show himself, to provide some sort of sign of his love for Eric, and he will! I had no problem challenging the Lord to that b/c I know it is his desire anyway! He kind of nodded and then walked away.

My whole body was shaking!!! It’s like the Holy Spirit had so much power in me, and as it was coming out it was evident both to me and to Eric. I didn’t expect him to notice too! Thank you God for using me as a vessel, and for finding me fit to share the gospel even when I don’t think I have the right things to say. Thank you for the boldness that you gave that was so not of me. You are a good God and a loving Father!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Glance" (Misty Edwards)

I remember the first glance
I remember the first romance
I remember the first dance
When I fell in love with You (repeat x2)
When I fell in love

I thought that I would never know love
And maybe I would never know touch
But then You came and awakened me
And then You came unlocking me
I've never known a love like this
You've shown the truth behind of the myth, the mystery


When it's all been said
When it's all been done
When the race is run
And this life overcome

I will remember Your love (x4)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Shoan, the Elevate PM (EPM) director, came up and had a word for me tonight in worship that God says I get to have a "do-over." Without knowing my testimony, he said he just senses that there are places where I feel like my sin was too much for God, or that I didn't perform well enough for God. He said that God doesn't expect me to "do better." But that as I live in him and abide in him, I will be transformed and break out of the bondage of sin. And not of my own doing, but b/c of sheer submission of my life to God. He then prayed that over me and just broke off the spirit of performance/expectation and not feeling like I measure up or that I've ruined anything. Which is huge for me as a perfectionist, that even in my faith I feel like I am never on par or that there's a lot of pressure to be a certain way to be accepted.

I just want to record these words that people have for me as I go so I don't forget them and so that I can look back on them later and realize where the Lord has taken me, and maybe even answer that oh so familiar question of "WHY?"


Hey y'all!!

So I feel like the Lord FILLS me even when I don't FEEL it. He does reward faithfulness though. I have been consistently spending a good chunk of time worshipping/seeking him/reading the bible each morning, and he has given me the grace to get up and do it even though it's hard.

Today when I was driving to work, I just prayed that it wouldn't be another mundane day at the VA where I don't share what God's doing and who he is. So I prayed in boldness that the Lord would give me an opportunity.

And he did! Almost right away! When I logged in my computer, one of my trainees came over to ask me a question and he said I looked tired. I said yeah I really am. Then I went into why...(waking up early to pray) and just stated that although it's a sacrifice of my time, it's completely worth it. He, (Willy), seemed receptive so I kept going and told him about Elevate and before long he was telling me about his church (that he drives an hour to!) and his pastor and how he was fasting today b/c his pastor challenged him to. So wow, that was cool!!

So I was assuming he was a Christian at this point. I mean who fasts just for kicks? I asked him how long he had known the Lord and he said well I am not actually a Christian (and I believe he used the word YET...but I might've implied that ;)

I was shocked! Ok Lord, well here's my completely open door, I thought. And he was really attentive as I shared about my spiritual journey and how I've found he's the only thing that satisfies and brings hope both now and for the future. I shared with him how I grew up in the Lord in college, but still wasn't totally sold until I started going to Antioch and began to have people in my path who challenged me and edified me and just loved me really well. Shared with him a little about my call into Elevate and how I really was fighting the Lord about it until I just decided that I wanted him so desperately and I knew I'd grow so much if I would just devote my time and energy to training and discipline. He wants to have a divine encounter with me. There's a reason I met Anna, who introduced me to my now roommates, Anne and Liz (who moved here to do Elevate). He had paved the way so clearly that I ran out of excuses to not say yes to Elevate.

Willie says he struggles with having fear and doubts about giving in and becoming a different person or becoming a pushover. He said he wrestles with God about going all in. He has been going to that church for 2 years now and still has not accepted the Lord as his Savior! Jesus come pursue him!!!

I told him there is no fear in the Lord, but that HIS spirit brings FREEDOM. I have found to be soooo true in my life. He has filled my life with a gladness and meaning that is completely new for me as of late. I also told him, Willy, the Lord is after you! He wants your whole heart, just as you are, and he loves you, just as you are.

A tear started to form in my eye as he walked away. I really sense that the Lord is knocking hard and wants to invite Willy into the kingdom. He's got the door cracked and that's a start. I am so glad I spent time getting with God this morning and am definitely encouraged that the Lord would want to use as a vessel in his pursuit of Willy. Lord I pray he has visions and dreams of you tonight, God. I pray that you spoke to him as he fasted and even in the morning tomorrow that you will reveal yourself to him so clearly that he will confess with his mouth that JESUS IS LORD and believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and he will be saved!!


I wrote this down in my (real) journal the other night and thought I'd share it:

I choose your way, Lord Jesus.
This is what I want.
You are worth the sacrifice!

I love because you first loved me.
The dimensions of your love
No man can fathom!

The Father of Lies shall gain no more ground!
For the Lord is my defense
And his Truth is the eternal victor.

I am a new wineskin
I yearn for your presence.
Holy Spirit, fill. Overflow.

I place my trust, hope and future
In the hands of the Almighty One,
The maker of heaven and earth.

Come Lord! Be my dwelling place.
Everything you're doing in me is good,
My life has purpose and meaning in you.

Let me dream your dreams and
Carry your banner wherever I go.
Be exalted among all nations, God!

When I utter your name,
Darkness tries to hide,
But cannot find refuge from your glory.

Let salvation awaken with the dawn!
Convict hearts that are far from you
Lord, may your kindness bring repentance!

Empower me, in your name, to heal,
Bind up broken hearts, and speak truth into falsehood.
You are the vine. I can do nothing without you.

Jesus, you are my joy,
Hope, delight and strength.
You are the ruler of my heart.

Lying prostrate at your feet of mercy,
At your throne of grace,
Is where I will be lost and found in you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


So our first Elevate class was on Monday!! It's been really cool to see how God has worked in my life this summer and how it became manifest on our first gathering that we really were all there for the right reasons and that God has a plan for each of us by going through this intense 10 months of discipleship training. The time of worship was incredible. I was also really blessed when the previous Elevaters prayed over us. I got some really encouraging words from the Lord. Even yesterday at work, I felt the spirit of God stirring in me and exciting me about being in Elevate. (Whereas, before there was a lot of skepticism, worry, anxiety, comparison to others, fear of failure, etc). But the 7 Steps to Freedom put me on a path to say no to those lies and press into what the Lord says about me. And p.s., I have never experienced such fullness of joy!

Last night I prayed for a friend of mine who is searching for God. I felt like I was rambling and had no clue if she was receiving anything I was saying or if she just wanted me to shut up. She is not a Christian, but she says she is searching for God. I asked her why she continues to come to Life Group every week. She said she feels like there's a better chance of God being at Life Group than any other place. To which I immediately responded that it's not some probability or chance. Where 2 or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, he is there!!!! In the words of Kim Walker, "I don't wanna talk about you like you're not in the room. I wanna look right at you...see right through you." Anyhow, she was not open to much discussion, so I just prayed for her with all I had in me and when I was done I was literally overcome with passion and longing for her to know the Lord personally. Jesus, come and overwhelm her by who you are! Sweep her away with your timeless, relentless, unconditional love. Let her choose you, b/c only you can satisfy.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hey there Blog World!

Hello all!

In case you're wondering, I've extracted the title "Lily among thorns" from the Bible book, Song of Solomon, in which the Lover tells the Beloved: "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens." I just really like that.

I have decided to put on a trial run. I already don't like the limited layouts, but we shall see. I have also decided to re-try blogging b/c sometimes I have a lot to express and don't wanna take the time to manually journal. Plus, I want to share the amazing things that are happening in my how the Lord restoring to me a much needed 518 dollars via a random check/credit to my account from Bank of America! Praise Jesus for his perfect timing, his pursuit of me and his desire to increase my faith in what He alone can do! (If you want details to this story, just ask!)

Just watched Man on Fire with Anne. (Great movie!) We've just been chillin' together today, which has been nice. I quite like her :). I took her to the Olive Branch and Bloom and Bee Swanky, which are 2 personal Waco faves of mine.

Got unexpected news today. My heart is heavy for a close loved one. How did it get this far? Lord, grant me wisdom to know what to say, how to heal/restore and guide with words of grace that are too profound to have come from my own understanding. Jesus, thank you that you never leave nor forsake us, and that your love endures FOREVER. Let me love with your love. Would you woo her spirit back into communion with yours. Show her that only you can satisfy.

Blessings friends,