Spiritual Authority

 

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On “the boat” on beautiful Lake Powell 

It just seemed like the smart thing to do. So, without hesitation, I went up to Sam Metcalf, the president of CRM (and someone that I love and trust) and asked him if he would be open to praying for me. We happened to be at the same place at the same time, and I thought, “Why not take advantage of the moment?” So, I did. He got a few others to join him and together they prayed for me.

 

I had been struggling with an issue with my voice. Not exactly sure what it is, but it is really frustrating. I can’t project very well. It’s ok for a short time, but when I need to get louder or if I’ve been talking for a while, it is like trying to push air through a thin tube, that just keeps getting thinner and thinner. I have had all kinds of prayer many times through the year that I’ve been struggling with it and I have seen some breakthrough, but not complete healing. I really want to be healed. I mean, it’s my job to talk. So, I kinda need my voice to be at full capacity.

 

Here is another reason that I asked Sam, specifically, to pray for me. I have wondered if my struggle with my voice is an attack from the enemy. Because I had many prophetic words that I have a voice and it needs to be heard. Interesting that my physical voice is the very thing that needs healing. So, curses have been broken and lies have been renounced. But, still no healing. And here is where Sam comes in to the picture.

I have been a part of a denomination for over 30 years that limits women. I love the people that I have known and worked with but they are wrong. Actually wrong, by not allowing women to take their place of God-given leadership and be who God made them to be. It makes me sad. And it’s affected me. I have felt like there was this ceiling over me, keeping me from the full potential of who I am as a woman of influence. Sure, in the local church I could do whatever I wanted, since my husband was the senior pastor. And he believed in me. And my church loved me and loved hearing from me. But, as far as going any further, there was that ceiling. So, I was content. I was good. But, stifled.

After joining CRM, a mission agency that not only accepts women but encourages us to do whatever God is calling us to do, and celebrates that, well, it has been freeing to say the least. And, I can be smart sometimes. I put 2 and 2 together and thought, “Maybe Sam could lift that ceiling off of me, as the leader of CRM and authority over me, and set me free. And maybe even healing could come to my voice!” So, I asked him to pray and just give God an opportunity to do something in me.

 

As they gathered to lay hands on me to pray that afternoon, I sensed the presence of God powerfully. There were many things prayed that were significant to me, including physical healing for my voice. I have not received the healing that I am looking for, but something else really important happened to me that day. It’s been 8 months since that warm day on Lake Powell, but I have had a hard time putting in to words until now, what I think happened.

 

The spiritual authority that Sam carries was imparted to me that day. He removed the ceiling. He called me forth. And he released me to be all that God has created me to be, for this moment in time and for the future I face. He invited me to “soar” as he put it. He cancelled any assignments (and there were some, I know) that the enemy had for me and anointed my voice with the power of the Holy Spirit for the task give to me with CRM and beyond. He honored me. He released me. He gave me spiritual authority.

 

Today, I am a different person. I still struggle with my physical voice. And I will continue to seek healing. And I also know that if I am not healed, I might be like the apostle Paul, still serving with a “thorn in my flesh.” But, one thing I know right now. My spiritual voice is something very different. I walk in greater authority. I am confident in the place at the table that God has given to me. I am certain God is going to use me. I am free to be me. To be the woman God has always wanted me to be. Part of that is because I am embraced to be that woman, by the leadership and authority over me. But, more importantly, because of Jesus.

 

I believe we must recognize the authority that God has given to us. In whatever our realm. And give it away, so others can walk in it as well. And thus, make an impact on the world, or at the very least, your world.

 

Matthew 8:5-13

Mark 6:7,12,13

 

Happy Father’s Day

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When I was younger, Father’s Day wasn’t my favorite. When I was 10 years old, my parents divorced. It was inevitable. And probably a really good thing because my dad was, let me just say, not the greatest. So, I didn’t really have a dad growing up.

But, trying to stay in touch, I would search every store for an appropriate Hallmark card for him. But, I could never find one that really expressed my feelings, since my relationship was so painful. So, I’d just get one that was blank, and wrote something like, “Happy Father’s Day.” Not real creative, but I mean, what else can you say to someone you really don’t know?

 

When I got married and three years later got pregnant, I distinctly remember saying to my husband, “I sure hope you know how to be a good dad, because I have no idea what they are supposed to be like.” Thankfully, he did. In fact, he was a great dad to our three kids. And he still is, to our adult kids and now to our grand kids.

 

But there is something else he does well. He “fathers” a lot of young adults that don’t have a father. There are so many young men and women that need a spiritual father and/or mother. They are dying for someone that has “been around the block” a few times to pour into them.

 

They want someone to learn from, that won’t judge them if they don’t know how to do something or don’t know something. They want someone they can go to for advice or help. They want to just have coffee with someone older than them that really listens to them and acts like they care. They want someone to speak honestly to them, and maybe even confront them, because it’s coming from someone that really loves them. They want someone to teach them things they don’t know, and be able to ask questions of them. They need someone to forgive them when they do dumb things, and still want to meet with them. They need someone to speak destiny into them and remind them who they are meant to be. They need someone to show them how God sees them. They need someone to help them discover their dreams and then help them get there. They need someone to believe in them. And they may need someone to have their back, when no one else does.

 

Yes, all of this takes time. But, when I look at the scores of young adults that Bill has done all of those things and much more, it is worth every minute. And it started with our kids. Happy Father’s Day, Bill.

 

Oh, and one more thing. They won’t often ask you to hang out with them, because they know you are busy. And they probably think you will say no. So, maybe you could pray about who is in your sphere of influence that needs a spiritual dad or mom. Open your eyes to the young adults around you. They are just waiting for someone like you.

 

I promise you, it’s worth the investment.

Wisdom. Stature. Favor.

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How is it that some people can just walk into a room and everyone is drawn to them like a magnet? Or when you are talking to someone, they know just the right thing to say that unlocks the mystery of what you are dealing with? Or when they start a business or a ministry, it blows up?

 

My kids are that way. Not because of me or my husband. I wish I could take the credit because of my amazing parenting skills. Nope. But I do know a Guy. And I went to Him and He did it.

 

One day, probably 20 years ago (how have I gotten so old?), I was in my favorite spot drinking my coffee before the kids were awake. And I read this verse, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” And it hit me. Now there isn’t a lot we know about Jesus’ growing up years as a young boy. There is a little, but as Luke describes Jesus as a twelve-year-old (Luke 2:52) he sounded more like a man than a preteen. (Luke 2:41-51) I mean, he is God, so he’s got to be pretty mature, right? But, in Luke’s description as a boy growing into a man, these qualities were what stood out: wisdom, stature, favor. They must be the most important.

 

So, because I’m smart, I thought, “Well, if it’s good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for my kids as they are growing up!” So, I began praying that day, in my favorite spot with my coffee, and I have prayed ever since….

 

Lord, you know my kids. They are so different from each other. And you have a plan for each one. And Father, it seemed important to you, as Jesus’ Father, to instill wisdom, stature and favor with God and with all people. So, I humbly ask that for Andrew, Whitney and Caleb. That you would grow them in wisdom. May they receive it all from you. That you would give them stature in the world that you have them in, and expertise in that world. And that you would grant them favor with you first and foremost. But also that they would have favor with men and women around them; that they pour their lives into, their families, those that they work with and play with and in their communities. And I will give you all the glory as you answer these prayers. And may THEY give you the glory all the days of their lives.

Something like that. Pretty much every day. Well, as often as I could.

 

So today, as I sit here in my favorite spot with my coffee, writing this, I am aware of a few things.

  • God is faithful to answer my prayers. John 14:13,14.
  • The Father wants our kids to grow up like his Son, with wisdom, stature and favor.
  • The fruit of this is amazing.
  • What other prayers did I not pray, that you would have answered?

 

Andrew is an incredibly successful businessman that loves Jesus and has all three of those qualities. God is using him powerfully in that world as He has given him creativity to further develop those gifts in him and in others. And he is giving all of it away to his kids and his “adopted” Dutch Bros kids.

Whitney has accomplished things in business and ministry that I only wish I could. She has changed communities with her creative touch and her tenacity to serve the marginalized and trafficked. She is now pouring into her own little ones this same prayer. And I can already see the fruit of it.

Caleb can make anyone feel loved, welcome and like they have value. His strong prophetic sense of what God is doing and prophetic voice to speak it is life-changing for the culture and individuals around him. He loves the ones that others avoid and they feel that love and acceptance. In fact, he is so empowering of others that they end up reaching new heights that they never thought they could. Just because Caleb believed in them.

 

That’s my kids. And their spouses are equally amazing. I did throw up a few prayers through the years in preparing for my kids’ wedding day, those same things for them as well. Sure seemed to work out beautifully.

 

As I continue to pour into the lives of young adults, I pray this prayer for them too. But, another privilege I have is to pray this for my four grandkids, (and probably more to come!) And its already fun watching God answer this prayer in them. I think they may pass their parents up! Because they certainly passed their parents up!

 

How about you? I encourage you to pray it for your kids. Pray it for the friends and family in the younger generation behind you. Pray it for your grandkids. In fact, I dare you. And then let me know how it goes. It’s never too late. Start now, at whatever age they are. I’m betting that you, and many others, will be blessed.

 

Just think if our kids grew up with similar qualities that Jesus had. Wisdom. Stature. Favor with God and all people. Imagine, for a moment, what our communities will look like. Simply amazing. The things God could do are endless. That’s how we change the world. Right? One person at a time.

Are you missing a hero in your midst?

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Why do I judge people? What is wrong with me? Who do I think I am anyway?

It seems like when people aren’t like us, or we see something we don’t necessarily like, we jump to a conclusion as to what they must be like. So we don’t get to know them, let alone don’t ask them their story or maybe we even ignore them altogether.

I know people that are literally changing the world, and I’m pretty sure you would walk by them, and not give them another thought. In fact, if you met them, that would be the last thing you would think…. That God chose them to change the world.

We tend to have such tunnel vision, appreciating people for what we are attracted to in them, or if their values are the same as ours, or if they laugh at the same things we laugh at, or if they like the same person running for president that we like (or dislike the same one we dislike!) What if they go to a different kind of church than I do?  What if they have tattoos? Maybe they even go hang out at pubs. Yikes.

If you were to meet Harry, you probably wouldn’t be impressed. Harry was a young adult that my husband and I knew a long time ago. He had short, bushy hair and funny teeth. He was over weight and had really bad BO. Let me just say that he didn’t have a lot of girlfriends either. But, he loved Jesus with abandon. One day he came to my husband (his pastor) and told him that he wanted to take Mark 10:21 literally. He felt like God told him to sell his business, sell all his “stuff” and move to Poland to start a church. Bill actually said, “Harry, are you sure you want to do that?” He wasn’t sure if he really knew what he was saying. But, he said yes. So, he sold his business and everything else he owned and moved to Poland shortly after that conversation. It was there that he met his wife and 30 years later, there is a movement of believers and churches that he birthed. God choses the unlikely, the ones that say yes, and empowers them to change the world. And they do.

I don’t want to ignore the Harrys. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to pour in to someone that I think might not appear to have what it takes to be used by Jesus. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to get to know and glean from the wisdom of someone just because they don’t seem very smart or are a little rough around the edges, or don’t have a hip wardrobe. I will miss out. Pretty sure Jesus chose some not-so-attractive, rough-around-the-edges guys to change the world. And I guess you could say that it sure was worth it. They definitely did.

Who do you have in your sphere of influence like Harry? Can you think of someone that you made a judgment about this week? Maybe you should take another look. Maybe you should stop and get to know them. Ask them their story. Maybe even have coffee with them. And who knows what kind of relationship could develop. It might be the beginning of someone changing the world. No matter what, “Harry” has a story, and he’s worth listening to. And you might be the one that’s changed.

Making a tough decision? Maybe this can help.

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When we got a call from Bill’s mentor that cold, winter day in 1987, I knew things were probably about to change. Don asked, “What would you think about moving back to San Diego and planting a church with me?”

We were living in Massachusetts at the time, enjoying the fruit of our labor at our first church plant. We loved our city, our people, the snow (kinda), good friends, Dunkin Donuts and life on the east coast. Why in the world would we move? God.

Why is decision making so hard? Especially the big ones that cost us a lot. Like moving, or taking a new job, or planting a church, or finishing your degree, or staying at home with your kids. And on and on. I mean, I want to do what God wants me to do. I want to please Him. But, if I’m facing two good choices, what do I do? Sometimes things are obvious, and you know what is the right and the wrong thing to do. But, how will you know what the best thing is to do? What does He want me to do? What if I make the wrong choice and mess everything up? What if I make a mistake? I really don’t want to make a mistake. I hate failure.

There are a few things that I have learned through our 30+ years of being in ministry and raising three kids, who are now amazing adults. And I thought maybe sharing them with you might be helpful. We didn’t always do it “right.” We didn’t always follow every one of these things every time. But I do know one thing. God is good. And He really loves me. And even if the choice I make doesn’t seem on the surface to work out, He is still good and will make it good. Because He really does work all things together for the good. So, just knowing that helps me step out and take risks when I feel like God is telling me to.

My favorite book the past few years is Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. Her chapter on discernment has helped me and many others that I coach, with making decisions. So, here are a few questions that you can take to God when you are trying to make a decision. The key is, take them to God. Take time to be with God and ask the right questions. Lots of time, because it may take a while. But it will totally help you sort through the issues that are being considered.

  1. Direction & Calling: How does this choice fit with the overall direction and calling of God on my life?
  2. Consolation & Desolation: Which choice brings the deepest sense of life, inner peace and freedom? Is it authentic with who I am in God, or does it draw me away from God?
  3. Scripture: Is there a certain scripture that God is bringing up to you in regards to this choice?
  4. Life of Christ: Is this choice consistent with what I know of the mind and heart of Christ?
  5. Character Growth & Development: How will this direction nurture the fruit of the Spirit in me? What is God doing in my character and spiritual growth, and will this choice continue to nurture this growth?
  6. Eternal Perspective: On my deathbed, which choice would I wish I had made?
  7. Community: How does this choice fit with others’ observations of who I am and what God is doing in my life? Am I willing to open up every part of this decision to a trusted friend for their wisdom and insight about it?

Another thing to do that is really revealing and helpful is this: pretend to make the decision. Say yes to it. Then act as if you are living in that decision and notice how you feel. You can take a couple days to do this. Does it feel right? What are you sensing? What things are you having to face or deal with that maybe you hadn’t thought of?

And there’s two more questions that I have been asking God these days when making decisions. It has taken me to a deep place with God and myself. What needs to die in me in order for God’s will to come forth in my life? Is there anything I need to set aside so that I can be open to what God wants?

What is God talking to you about these days? What is He asking you to do? Is it a new role, a new church, or a change of leadership? Is He asking you to stay at home with the kids or go back to work? Maybe He is calling you to something brand new, something you’ve never done before, something challenging. I know a couple things. He is good. He loves you. And He is always challenging us to go deeper and wider than we ever thought we could go. But the good news is, that no matter what you decide, He will always be with you in it.

Is this helpful?

 

Here we go…

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Well, I finally started a blog. I’ve been meaning to do this for years, but I finally am sitting down to make this happen.

There are A LOT of them out there. And I’m not sure I have anything unique or different to say than many people, but I have felt compelled by God to do this. And so, here we go….

Thanks for coming on this ride with me. God is at work in me and around me in powerful ways, sweet ways, funny ways and life-altering ways, that it seems wrong to just keep it to myself.