The Fire of Heaven in the Heart of Youth

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I’ve been in a dry spell.  The news all around me takes a toll on a spirit.  Busyness keeps me from digging into the wellspring of Jesus and His Word.  Pure discouragement keeps me from going to Him in prayer.  All excuses, I know, designed by the enemy to keep me from being who I am in Christ and from being productive for His Kingdom.

 

This week, I had the privilege of going to our Brethren Youth Conference with our youth group.  We took 18 youth and 5 advisors.  I didn’t want to go.  In the midst of my busyness and discouragement, going away for a week when there is so much to do was the last thing I wanted.  Even on Sunday, I was still trying to think of reasons not to go, but all week long the Spirit had been calling me to a time set apart with Him.  So with much reluctance, I went, knowing that there was something special waiting for me there.

 

Light bulb moments from the Spirit revealed to the youth!

Light bulb moments from the Spirit revealed to the youth!

 

God is a Good Good Father!  I was reminded over and over this week, when seen through the eyes of untainted youth.  I’m not saying they are not aware of the darkness around them.  You would have to live in complete seclusion not to be aware of the evil and perverseness that prevails all around us.  What I’m talking about, is being untainted by the church and religion.  There is a pureness of faith and worship that those of us who’ve been around awhile tend to lose.  Everyone knows the world is bad, but those of us that have been in the church awhile have been exposed to things that have also tainted our view of Christians and the church.  It’s sad, I know.  We allow the bad actions of fellow believers to twist our view of Christ and who we are in Christ.

 

This manifests in all kinds of ways.  It looks different for different people, because it has affected us in different ways.  It may look like standing in church not singing the songs, or singing with little or no regard for the words coming from our mouths.  It may mean never displaying any source of Christ in our lives outside the walls of the church.  Possibly, it’s a lack of reading the Word or praying.  Maybe it’s just doubting the power and authority given to us by the Holy Spirit and refusing to acknowledge the gifts we have been given.

 

All of these things have manifested in my life at one point or another and sometimes all at once, I’m sad to admit.  This week though…I was reminded, refreshed and revived!  I was reminded that God is Who He says He is, and I am Who HE says I am.  Watching the pure worship of youth pouring out their praise to God refreshed my soul.  Practicing new ways of blessing others, praying for them, and sharing our stories revived my spirit.  For these youth, that are not yet jaded, all of these new ideas seemed like a natural way to serve God.  They soaked it up like a sponge and were eager to try all of these new things.  It didn’t seem weird to them.  They didn’t look around wondering what others would think of them.  For them it was a new revelation, a new way to see God, experience Him and walk out their Faith in a real and tangible way.

 

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

 

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Pure Worship-hands raised and hearts open!

We really could learn a lot from this new generation.  When the world around us seems to being going straight to Hell, literally, take heart.  There is a new generation of young believers that are taking a bright light into the world.  They have been empowered with tools that will change our world.  A new identity has been revealed to them as Sons and Daughters of God, full of hope, power, authority, and passion.  I witnessed them sharing their stories with each other.  They built each other up with prayer, encouragement, and blessings.  It wasn’t forced upon them.  It was introduced to them, and they grabbed hold and ran with it.  They felt the transforming power of the Holy Spirit inside of them.  Gifts were revealed and used.  Just like you and I, they feel the darkness closing in, but given a light to shine, they are all in!

 

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  Acts 2:17

You may not have had the blessing of witnessing the transformation of these youth, but take heart in knowing that it happened.  In a world full of darkness, it only takes a spark to bring the light.  There is more than a spark in these youth…there’s a fire! Do what you can to fan the flames.  Christ may come tomorrow, but if He should tarry, there is hope in the next generation.  There is power and authority given by the Holy Spirit and it is manifesting in the lives of our youth!  Praise God!

This is Why I Run!

  • me at statehouse

Several months ago, I wrote a blog post Battle Cry “It’s Time Christians”.  I wrote of an experience I had with God.  It was a message He gave me during a time of prayer.  After months of wrestling with all He told me that night, some of which was too personal and frankly scary at the time to share, I have been moved into obedience.  It’s taken months for me to come to grips with what He has called me to do.  Honestly, it was a calling I did not want.  As I wrestled though, I went to scripture and found that person after person in the Bible were given assignments they did not want.  Each person dealt with those assignments in different ways, but I did notice a pattern.  Most of them when given the assignment were not eager to be obedient.  It also took them some time wrestling with God and coming to grips with what He was asking them to do.  Moses made excuses, Sarah laughed, Jonah ran, Elijah hid, Peter denied…and I argued.

I’ve had many “conversations” with God over these last few months.  Let me just tell you, we serve a very patient and compassionate God.  He knows our hearts and He knew mine.  He knows my weaknesses and insecurities.  He knows my doubts and graciously walked through them with me.  I still have some to be honest, but I am confident that He is in this with me and will be by my side the whole way.  It is amazing how connected you can be to God when you truly seek Him.  These last few months have been like a roller coaster and I keep leaning in and holding on.  No matter the twists and turns that have come my way, He is keeping me on track.  There have been moments of apprehension, anticipation, thrills and excitement and I know the ride is just beginning.  There’s a long way to go, but I’m resting in the fact that I’m just along for the ride and He is the one in control.

If you didn’t read my previous blog post that I mentioned above, let me give a brief recap.  I watched a movie with my husband called “Fury.”  It was a WWII movie about and American tank crew in Nazi Germany.  The depravity of the human race weighed heavy on my heart long after the movie was over.  As I went to bed, I cried out to God in the heaviness of my heart.  As I poured out my questions to Him and tried to understand, I finally asked, “What can I do about all this?”  (Just FYI-Don’t ask God this question, unless you are truly prepared for the answer!)  In the stillness of my heart I heard, “Politics.”

Let the argument begin… “But I don’t know anything about politics.”

“I will teach you.”

“I don’t know anyone in politics.”

“I will introduce you.”

“But, what about my family?”

“I will take care of them.”

“I don’t want them to get hurt.  Politics can be brutal.”

“I love them even more than you do. I will protect them”

Every question, every concern was lovingly answered, but I still wasn’t convinced.  I shared my experience with my husband and with a friend.  Both were very encouraging to me, but also had lots of questions.  As the next few weeks and months went by and the questions and seeking continued, God began to change my heart and my perspective.  I made a deal with God.  I’m not sure if this is allowed…non-the-less, I did.  Here was the deal…If you open the doors, I will walk through them, but if you close the doors, I will stop.  And He did.  The doors that have opened and the people that I have met has been, well…life changing.  I never would have guessed I would be on the path that God has placed me.  The doors continue to open and I continue to go through.  I am walking in obedience; one day at a time and one door at a time.  I don’t know where this will end up honestly, but with God at the helm of this ship, it’s bound to be an adventure.

Me and Amy in Senate Chambers

Over the last few months I’ve spent multiple days at the State House, a building I had never stepped foot in before.  I’ve stood in assemblies of people praying, singing and standing for religious freedom in the atrium of that great building.  I’ve walked the halls, sat in committee meetings, sat on the floor of the House of Representatives during session and learned the ropes of a representative spending the day with my Representative.  I sat in the seat of a Senator in Senate Chambers, as I witnessed the proceedings of the first reading of SB344 and SB100 and prayed for the preservation of religious freedom.  I’ve walked alongside my friend Amy as she has fought tirelessly and lobbied for the Heartbeat Bill in Indiana.  I’ve sat and talked with representatives, senators, councilmen and other candidates not only voicing my opinion about certain bills and issues, but most importantly listening, learning and getting advice.  God has certainly been opening doors and so I keep walking through.    People have even been contacting me and offering to help.  God is good and faithful, there is no doubt about it!

filing papers

So, what does all of this look like for me right now?  I am currently running for a Wabash County Council, At Large seat.  There are three seats coming up for election.  I am one of five Republicans running and there is one Democrat.  Three are current councilmen.  I know I have my work cut out for me.  It’s going to take a lot of time, resources and commitment, but with God on my side I can’t lose.  I don’t mean that I know I will win the election.  What I mean is…if He has called me to this and I am obedient in answering the call, no matter the results of the election, I win!  Will it be easy? No!  Will I get a little stressed out at times?  I imagine I will, because I already have.  The good news is…no matter the outcome, I am walking in confidence that this is the path to which He has called me.  God willing, if I win this election, I will serve for Him.  I will do my best to represent Him in the halls of government locally and who knows, maybe at the State House someday?

As I look into the eyes of my children and all the kids that I influence in my everyday life, I can say with confidence, “ I am doing all I can to preserve the future of this county, state, and great nation for you and future generations.”  I may be but one small cog in a great machine, but I will do my part.  I will fight for my values which are my faith, my family, and my freedom.  If we can preserve our right to live out our faith in all areas of life, promote traditional family values, and protect our constitutional and God given freedoms, then we have done well for future generations.  They deserve to enjoy those freedoms as we have and I want that for them.

girls at state house

Teaching, mentoring and growing the next generation is intertwined in all aspects of my life.  It’s who I am and what I’m called to do.  The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize it until I started examining this new path.  I’m a mom of two girls who are almost twelve and fourteen.  I have been and am currently a host mom of two exchange daughters from Germany.  In my seven years of owning my own business, I have employed and invested in seven girls ranging from Jr. High to college students.  I’ve been involved in our church’s youth group as a leader and helper for the last four years.  Serving on Faith Quest, which is a teen spiritual retreat weekend for the last eight years has given me the opportunity to speak into the lives of countless teens and watch them grow into adults, marry, and have kids of their own.  I can’t think of anything more rewarding that investing in the lives of the next generation.  Now I have the opportunity, God willing, to help preserve their futures in the halls of government and will be able to say with confidence and sincerity, “I did all I could to preserve a good future for you and generations to come.”

So when people ask me “Why are you running for office?” this is my answer.  I am running for office because God called me to do it.  One day in the future I will stand before Him.  When He asks me what I have done with the gifts and abilities He has given me, I want to be able to say, “I was obedient in the tasks You gave me and completed them for Your glory.”  My greatest desire in all that I do here on earth is to one day hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  And this is why I run!

 

In His Service!