Love is such a worthy cause

The sound of fingers lightly strumming strings of wire, the guitar feels like a part of me with my ear down against the wood listening. Same familiar chords, same familiar pattern, same familiar song, “I miss you”. We do funny things with our missing. Some times it drives us to extreme measures in hopes to convince a return, sometimes it finds us madly pursuing our pleasure, thoughtlessly filling our thoughts with others to avoid….. what? The missing. But it doesn’t go away.

Do our souls remember Eden? How else could we ache for communion?

So many of my friends have left town lately and I want them all to return; tuck them all in next to me, no don’t leave, stay here where I have control. I’ll wrap up in you all like a blanket as a comfort to my fears that some of you might go …. but even now you are going.

This week I missed my brother. Dang it, I’ve missed him every day since he left. Matt Lockett sent me a cruel photo of the two of them stating “He’s here with me. And you are not.” As soon as I saw it I burst out in smile – Jeremy with Matt. I love that Jeremy is with Matt! Then tears, because I want to be with Jeremy & Jen, and I want to be with Matt & Kim. Oh fellowship. The next night I pulled into the parking lot and passing what I thought to be Jenny’s car got so excited to run inside and hug my brother, only to remember how far away that hug is. I txt him my dilemma and he responded “come and get em!” It’s a long drive to Fredricksburg for a hug J.

My heart has been aching, to quote Sara Groves “So much painful information no sure way on how to hold it and everything in me is tightening like a circle round this ache”. Friends and family moving away and changing, Haiti & my hearts cry, and the pains that come with life. One of my dearest friends from my “pre-IHOP” days is going through the hardest thing that I could imagine and is too far away for me to comfort, a missionary friend finds herself deported and lost on what to do and where to go, even in my home the increasing awareness of our brokenness combined with circumstances threatens to overwhelm us.

I spent an hour on the phone crying with a friend this week, longing for words of life but having nothing to offer him but my tears and woke the next morning to the song “love is such a worthy cause” drifting through my brain. Love, the worthy cause. But it cost’s everything.

To love well is choosing to be the one who loves more NOT the one who IS loved more, and it does mean that we are the one who is loved less. To love is to feel, to love well is to be hurt. The more we love the more tender we become and the easier we feel the pain. Living with hearts that are bruised; the most gentle push hurts deeply. And what is the option from here? Turn back? “Where else can we go Jesus? You alone have the words of life.”

I imagine the Son of Man, eyes like fire – can you see them burn? Gazing over the hillside. The multitudes. Shepherdless sheep, His sheep. Harassed, helpless, abused, lied to, betrayed, lost, confused, manipulated, led on only to have their hopes dashed time and time again, dreamless, hopeless, accused and loveless ….. and He was moved. Can we be His friends and not be moved? Oh the Son of God, the Lord of all Creation how He FEELS.

Oh the longing in our souls to be with You Jesus. The longing in our souls for the garden, we’ve not forgotten, we were made for true communion. Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the wrong would be made right, that Love would have it’s day, that all darkness would flee before Your ever increasing light, and that we would be found like You.

Love. It costs us everything today, it cost You everything too. Everything. It’s not figurative, not poetic language that Love looks like “the God-Man bleeding on a tree.” There is no deeper truth; love looks like the Son of God, the Lord of Glory, unrecognizable as even a human with a gash in his side that pumps out blood to a beat, the beat of a dying human heart. That is Love in the truest form, the clearest picture. It costs us everything, oh but help us to believe that it will pay for forever.

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Practicals on Living in an Outpouring by Joanna Reyburn

My friend Joanna posted this on her site back in November when the IHOPU Student Awakening began, it was good enough to warrant a repost, and to print and keep in your journal for the rest of your life 🙂 Read below or click here to be redirected to her original posting.

Ways to keep your mind, will and emotions healthy to receive all that the Lord is doing during seasons of refreshing

The Lord is doing incredible things in Kansas City right now through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. I was inspired to write, not about what the Lord is doing for those who aren’t here, (check out www.ihop.org/watch if you haven’t heard about it) but about what to do for those of use who are here in the thick of it, or for others who find themselves in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

When I think about previous outpourings, renewals or awakenings, I think of Toronto, Brownsville and Lakeland. When I think about what I would term “revival culture” or people who have cultivated a lifestyle of encounter with the manifest presence of God, I think of Bethel with Bill Johnson. From these, there are practical dynamics and lessons learned. We should desire to receive the council of those who have gone before us. From what I’ve gathered, they have rather profound insights. In all honesty, none of the following thoughts originated with me, they came from asking questions and receiving some advice, reproof and exhortation regarding the way I was living and ways to create a “revival culture” in my own life.

The premise is “When in a Move of the Holy Spirit” – and this is particularly focused towards people who are involved in altar ministry, administration, deliverance, platform ministry, ushering, singing, worship leading, etc. etc.

1. Eat Food If you have an ambitious fasting regimen, transition to something like a Daniel fast, no caffeine, or fast only one day a week.

I was in an internship a few years ago and we talked to Bob Jones about fasting, and He said “When the Bridegroom is with you (referring also to an unusual season of visitation) you don’t fast, but when He’s not there, then you fast.”

2. Stay HydratedDrink lots of water. You will get dehydrated really really fast, and then you will wake up with swollen gunky eyes, chapped lips, raw face, and you will feel worn down in your body and be more susceptible to colds or the flu.

3. Try some cranberry juice I know this sounds strange, but a few years ago, I was leading worship at prophetic classes with Shawn Bolz and Paul Keith Davis. Every night after worship, my lower back would BURN in pain and I could hardly even get to my seat. Finally, Paul Keith pulled me aside and shared with me that how Bob Jones’ always drinks cranberry juice. Bob had said that when you were ministering in a flow of the anointing, that you needed to take good care of your kidneys, which he called the Biblical “reins.” He said that’s where the anointing flows from. Now I didn’t ask a lot of questions or try to figure out the who’s, what’s, and why’s of all that, I just started drinking cranberry juice and more water and I noticed that the pain was GONE.

For inquiring minds, here are more Scriptural references for Bob’s perspective on kidneys and “reins.”

Reins: the kidneys, the supposed seat of the desires and affections; used metaphorically for “heart.” The “reins” and the “heart” are often mentioned together, as denoting the whole moral constitution of man (Ps. 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 139:13; Jer. 17:10, etc.)

Paul Keith also suggested finding a friend or leader that you trust to pray for you, or if you can’t find somebody, putting your own hands on your lower back and asking the Holy Spirit to fill you up, refresh and sustain you if you’re feeling that type of pain during or after ministry.

A Note on Intercessors If someone is engaged in a dynamic ministry where the Lord is really resting on them – whether its a minister, worship leader, prophetic singer, or someone with an unusual anointing during altar ministry, (in our case people like Wes Hall, Allen Hood, Laura Hackett, Shelley Hundley, Ed Boasso, Graeme Walsh, Steven Beauchamp, and so many others) they may need some “back up” or prayer that the Lord would continue to flow through them, cover them from attack and fill them up. This is why many times in different churches and conferences (Bethel, conferences with Shawn Bolz or Paul Keith, and many more) you will see someone standing behind the singers on the platform – a platform intercessor – or someone following behind a minister during altar ministry.

A word of caution: Don’t start praying for someone you don’t have relationship with at close proximity without their permission. What I do during the IHOPU awakenings is to pray for Wes and Allen from wherever I’m at: “Lord bless Wes and Allen right now. Holy Spirit, cover them, sustain them, fill them up. Release your ministering angels to them even now God, strengthen their bodies, renew their spirit man..” Speaking from my experience as a worship leader, it is more unsettling to have a stranger pop up behind you and start praying (you hope).

4. Eat healthy.I’ve experienced this scenario firsthand: It’s 1:30 am and you’ve been in the meeting for 8 hours. You’re starving, and nobody wants to go home and cook at 1:30, and nothing else is open! So you go to Buffalo Wild Wings for the 10th day in a row.

I also observed junk food eating behind the scenes at a more recent outpouring and thought to myself, “You guys have been eating that? No wonder you feel bad! It’s not warfare, it’s your diet.” 65 days in a row of junk food will make you feel terrible. The Holy Spirit is not going to transform that deep fried, sugar covered, bacon marinated junk into fruits and vegetable in your stomach. You need to make healthy choices that will help sustain your “weak frame.”

Now like I said, I understand (I’ve been to BWW twice already as have an entire worship team) that no one wants to cook at 1:30 am. But you need to become deliberate about eating healthy! Some friends of mine have a plan: we’re getting 10 or so people together into a little cooking co-op where a couple of us will leave the service around 11:30 to go prepare some food, and the other 8 can come after the service and we’ll all eat together. We rotate houses, and cooking responsibilities and pitch in some funds. You can get some of your friends together and do something like that and you’ll save lots of money, feel better because you’ll be eating better, and you’ll have great redemptive fellowship in the afterglow of the Holy Spirit.

You also might want to get some cliff bars to keep with you – 8 hours of ministry is a long time.

5. Get Plenty of RestThis isn’t a time to push your body to the point of exhaustion. You may find yourself needing a lot more sleep than you did before, that’s normal and okay.

6. Eliminate the Unnecessary.Stay faithful with what the Lord has really called you to: Mike used the example of continuing to feed the homeless, but if you’re doing lots of unnecessary “stuff” consider downsizing. Suspend your end-times Bible study for a season, cancel meetings, and simplify your life so that you can fully receive all that the Lord has for you during this season. When you look back on this time years down the road, you’re not going to regret being as involved as you can, but you may regret not being more involved.

7. Keep your Devotional TimeMaybe before this, you’ve been able to have devotional time in the prayer room, but with all that’s going on in there now you may to need to carve out quiet time ALONE with Jesus. There, He’s going to speak, minister, fill you up, and sustain you. Don’t think that because you’re spending 8 hours praying for people at an outpouring service that you can suspend your personal devotional time. The Lord will meet you in such sweetness during these private times – He will meet you with that same manifest presence that is there during the altar ministry for impartation to others if you take the time.

Another note: During the meetings or prayer room ministry time, remember that you can switch back and forth from praying and releasing to personal receiving. Your “ministry mode” doesn’t have to last the entire time, you can have sweet personal encounter, and transition right into praying for others.

8. Keep Taking Your Day Off Nightly meetings will ebb and flow, and some nights will be “better” or “stonger” than others. That’s just how it works. Don’t feel like if you take a night off that God is not going to meet you anymore. There is NO condemnation for resting your body or spending time with you family. Even in the midst of the most dramatic healings, miracles, salvations and power demonstrations that we look forward to in the capital letters REVIVAL, you’re still going to need a Sabbath and some time off with your family.

Some people throw themselves so into a renewal that their family suffers. You don’t want your wife or children to acquire offense towards the Lord because you’re not stewarding your relationships.

9. Realize that You are going to be SensitiveThings that didn’t bother you before may grieve your spirit now. It’s good to keep that in mind that in your conversations and activities before you ask those “Why do I feel this way” questions. Keep in mind that you may feel the presence of the Lord or manifest when you’re out to eat and get prophetic words for the barista at Starbucks, or you may be grieved at a film you used to enjoy. Be extra vigilant about what you allow to enter your “gates” (eyes, ears, etc) because it will strike your heart in a heightened way.

10. Backlash is RealFrancis Frangipane’s “New Levels, New Devils” is real: If you’re experiencing breakthrough, freedom, joy and increased manifest presence, the enemy doesn’t like that. You will need to stand your ground in agreement with the Lord over hopelessness, depression, shame, condemnation, disqualification and other lying “fiery darts” the enemy may deploy in an attempt to take you out. Stand Firm, declare agreement with the Lord OUT LOUD and use the Scripture.

11. Remember The First and Second CommandmentIf this awakening continues and grows here in Kansas City, there may be quite a lot of people who come for a touch from the Lord. After a while, His sweet presence can become viewed as a commodity that is passed around: “Blam Blam Shaba Blam…Get ‘Em, Blam.”

We can become sidetracked by the unique sensation of His manifest presence, and overwhelmed by the numbers of people. We will need to continually remember that we are called to love the Lord our God, not just His tingles but His Person, and to love our neighbor. Not neighbors as if they are a mass group of people, but neighbor singular, dealing with each one as an individual as we’re praying at the altar, prophesying, singing, or even just running into them in the bathroom.

12. Make Lists of Stuff you Really Need to DoI’m noticing this for myself: I am preoccupied with Jesus. That is an AMAZING thing. After years of being preoccupied with me, this is way better! Some unexpected side-effects are that I’m forgetting to do some stuff I need to do, like trash day, grocery shopping, and going to the bank. Errands that previously were just a natural part of your life may completely slip your mind because you’re thinking about JESUS, which is AWESOME, but you do still need to pay your gas bill. I’ve started making a sticky notes I take everywhere with me:

1. Eat
2. Walk and Feed Dog
3. Talk to Parents
4. Pay Utilities
5. Trash Day is Wednesday
Sounds a little silly, but it may be necessary for you like it is for me.

Love to hear your comments

Rustling Leaves

  • This morning I’m chilling with the Bohlender kids & my sister while Randy & Kelsey are out and I’m not going to try to compile my thoughts related to Houston.
  • I AM reading all over the internet about Barefoot running/walking and Vibram Five Fingers shoes. Yup, I’m a nerd. I want a pair and I think that this may be really helpful to strengthen my legs after the last 2 years of madness! I’ve been to the Backwoods and Dynamic Earth 3 times this week looking at shoes and specialty outdoor gear, nerding out talking to the workers and compiling a list of supplies I want to purchase.
  • Also I’ve been eating up WB Yeats poetry, current fave: He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

TheCall Houston Pt.1

About 2 weeks ago I received a txt message from my friend T starting with “Do you want to go to Houston?…”

Let me say in my exhaustion….. that I have little to say 🙂 I always love roadtrips with Katrina (can you say – bottle rockets out the window?)  I am so honored to have run with theCall. Grateful to the Lord, to T and to Yale for the honor of helping in Houston. Blessed by Andy for hosting us for two days, and Gabriella for putting us up tonight where we get our own rooms and beds.

I slept about 3 hours last night, and worked a long hard day today. So “long hard” that when we finally ate (3pm dinner with T, the Engles, Martiers & Katz) I downed 3 dr.peppers and still had a hard time staying awake while driving through Houston tonight. Speaking of Houston I hate the interstate.

I finally met Levi Bethune, who’s photography I’ve admired for sometime. And got to be loved by the Lockett’s a little for a few days. This makes me think of Fredricksburg and I’m thankful for the clear distraction to steal the pain of my brother’s moving their this week. Levi, Matt, Kim – Hug Jeremy for me this week will you?

Have I ever mentioned that I love Steve Brown and Resource Group? He is STELLAR, and it’s always a blast to work with his talented, resourceful crew.

There are a few bad photographs to come later, and more thoughts. This Call event was quite different from any other’s I have done, but some dreams in my soul came to life today and my heart beats a little more real than before. Early tomorrow morning we hit the road for KC and maybe on Wednesday I’ll compose some tidbits about TheCall.

Like a Lake

Why post lyrics? Because I think in song. Welcome to the tunes frolicking through my brain.

Sara Groves – Like a Lake

so much hurt and preservation
like a tendril round my soul
so much painful information
no clear way on how to hold it

when everything in me is tightening
curling in around this ache
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake
wide open like a lake

standing at this waters edge
looking in at God’s own heart
I’ve no idea where to begin
to swallow up the way things are

everything in me is drawing in
closing in around this pain
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake
wide open like a lake

bring the wind and bring the thunder
bring the rain till I am tried
when it’s over bring me stillness
let my face reflect the sky
and all the grace and all the wonder
of a peace that I can’t fake
wide open like a lake

7.30 comes too soon

Katrina was two years old when I was born and she hated me.

Sounds like a bad beginning to a sad story but it worked out alright on my end, I grew in the dirt under open skies and the watchful eyes of my brother Jeremy and the neighborhood boys. Jeremy made me everyone’s little sister, a position I carried well. Bloody knees, bruised elbows, more hair than body (and it was always a mess), I had a will to match their boyish zeal for adventure and the few years they all had on me, and no matter how much I slowed them down he always brought me along. He was my hero.

From the start we were that close and it took me years to realize how rare our friendship was. He was my teacher, my instigator, my champion and friend, my brother and father to my absent daddy. Always pushing me further, always calling me higher. Blue eyes blazing with passion he always dared me to fly, and in his eyes I did. No really, in my dreams I never fly but I always fly in his. He gave me gasoline when I longed to burn. Poured it on and kept pouring, giving all he had to fuel the flickering desire for God. Teaching me of dreams, hearing and sight. Late nights talking, drinking from each other’s souls, gleaning from the revelation growing inside, weeping and longing, seeking and finding. Jeremy taught me that there were no limits and I gave all myself to be free.

During our internship we would tag-team pray over people, and there has never been another person that I see in the Spirit so clearly with. J and I breathe emotion. He’s fire on the inside. Confident where I was afraid and sure in my insecurities. Bursting with excitement for whatever has hooked his attention, and he gives all of himself to that thing. And he’s a nerd. Full on.

Our childhood was made of storybooks, or maybe I should say that books should be written about our childhood? Long summers running in fields, trekking to the swimming pool, making a tree house out of the bare roots of an old tree and a hillside. Scheming and playing on the top-level of a metal rocket ship at the play ground. Taking animal parades and walking the dog, bunnies and pet goose ….. all at once. Selling Kool-aide on the corner. And pestering the heck out of my sister. Katrina and I would get into long fights ALL THE TIME, and Jeremy would record them on his tape recorder, narrating the situation and who did what, then filling in the gaps with advertisements of random things he would make up or musical interludes of him playing the piano. And yes he did play them for my mom. And yes I did stage some of the fights for his cassette tapes.

J would save all of his junk, and sell them to us at his ‘Only this afternoon for an hour’ sales. And we would buy it. He could convince us to do anything.

Moving to Iowa burst open his dreamers heart. We would spend our days tramping through fields, J with a bb gun to shoot squirrels and I with a kitten in my pocket. We’d lay in the long warm grass and watch the clouds, dreaming big dreams and believe it or not he is as much of a romantic, dramatic dreamer as I am.

He first came to Kansas City during one of the most difficult seasons of my life, and I was desperate for his counsel and friendship. My nightwatch friends will understand when I say that I was one of those crazy family members who for the life of me could not remember that he SLEPT until two pm! At least twice a week I would call at noon while leaving work, and when he didn’t answer, would proceed to call his apartment phone. *God bless Nick Beaver and Trey Roach for never hurting me for those early phone calls* And he always took my calls. He would call me some nights, real late (or early) and though I almost never understood what the heck he was talking about I knew that he was burning in a way that I’d never seen, and I wanted in.

Thank you Jesus for IHOP-KC. He was my champion even during his track 1 of FITN. I’d visit and he’d keep me awake in the prayer room all night, take me to his briefings for Joanna’s worship team, and talk me through all the emotional tornado’s that I had. That’s when I met CJ. He was the “other Jeremy”, from Nebraska and talked like he’d smoked for 80 years. We hit it off right away.

Sometimes I forget that CJ was not always apart of our lives, that 4 years of history is REALLY not that much time, he was just one of us from the start. Poor CJ walked me through so much healing, and so much of the overflow of my brokeness and inability to trust. Often surprised at the intensity he was never overwhelmed by my outbursts and gently guided me through my track 1, letting me weep on his couch and wash my clothes in his basement. And together we prayed J back to KC.

Doing track two together was unbelievable. J & I were hardly apart much to my roommates annoyance,  and that time forged a deeper bond between us. It’s hard to not grow closer when you’re changing so much together. We shared a car, secrets, revelation, food, laugher and tears, and I did his laundry with mine once a week in CJ’s basement. And we shared lots of laughter about the time my superman boy shorts got left in the dryer. In CJ’s basement. That jerk still call’s me superman.

We moved here together, grew closer, grew apart, grew angry and became friends again. And we prayed Katrina here. Unbelievable gifts from the Lord.

I knew I liked Jen the first time I walked into the cafeteria at 6.45 in the morning and heard her playing the piano. With the lights off. We got along well, spent some time together, had coffee and took walks. One summer morning I left the prayer room, the birds were singing and it was gently raining one of those glorious, warm summer rains. And NO ONE would walk with me in it. But I waited until 7 when she got done playing and her eyes sparked when I asked her to walk in the rain with me. We walked Terrace Lakes over and back about 4 times that morning. In the rain. I ruined my cell phone and I found a life long friend.

I lost Jeremy when he fell in love with Jen. It was the day she fell off his roof. What were they doing on the roof? Alone? Oh you know, watching the stars…. the boy who’d once told me I was NEVER allowed to stare at the stars with boys was alone on his roof, with Jen. We’d known for awhile that he liked her, but the fear of her fall did something inside of him that I can’t explain and he was a mess for days. And I was angry. My “brothers” all tried to help, everyone gently would say “it was going to happen someday” but honestly had never thought that it would. Never had it entered my mind that we would not be heart friends, and never did I think that another woman would come between us. She moved in with Kat & I a few months later. It was hard to stay angry when I liked her so much. It was the gift of God to us that she lived with us.

They were married last May. I can hardly believe it. He wept when he saw her and she held her head high and the heavens poured down on that tiny glass chapel. Nathan and Kat cried through the whole ceremony but my face hurt from smiling so big. I watched him be a man that day, and gladly received my sister.

Tonight they had dinner with us. Dad drove in from Iowa and mom had been here since Kat’s ER scare. Through hours of food, games, tim tam slams, laughter and stories I watched them. CJ was married this last year as well and I’ve hardly seen him but he came for some hours and I loved that he was here. It was fitting to have him with my family on this night.  He and Jeremy sat side by side subject hopping, Jeremy instructing him on the game, CJ talking about Christina and their dogs and working with FITN, Jeremy randomly leaning across the table to kiss Jen’s forehead.

Tomorrow morning they move to Fredericksburg. There was a time 3 years ago when Jeremy left for 2 months of Jury duty and I was terrified. So much was happening inside and outside of me and he was my stability. I had no idea how to be me without him. That time I knew he was coming back. But here we are. There is no going back, no slowing down, no pausing. We are ever-moving forward toward the one thing that drives us, filling our nights with dreams and our days with hunger, the return of Christ Jesus, and goodbye is too formal for my ears. Holy Spirit has reminded me over and over and over again throughout this week, “you’re going to live forever” and it fills my heart with hope.

How do the lost ever say goodbye? We are those who have been set free from death and the kingdom of darkness, and we are never going to die. “Life is a vapor fading fast, just one more moment it will pass but it will be remembered like a dream in the night”. Just a dream, slightly faded, trying hard to reach onto and grab hold of the details, but still just a dream, and we are going to live forever. Forever. Growing in love and friendship with Jesus, growing in love and friendship with one another. And no ‘goodbye’ is final.

Early tomorrow morning I will squeeze my sister, mix our tears and kiss her cheek, and will hug him like I’m never letting go. The way I always have. But I’m going to let go. I’ll cry when they leave, probably cry throughout the day, and cry when I go to bed. But tomorrow I will go to bed unlike the rest of this week as I have fought sleep in an effort to fight their leaving. Tomorrow I’ll also make a pot of french press, watch Cohen for an hour, do some laundry and cleaning and go to the Awakening. Life will go on and I will enjoy it because we are still moving forward and all for the same goal: We miss you Jesus, and we want you to come back.

And I’m so thankful for you Jeremy.

Run to You

turn look, look out and see
do you see me?
cause i think i see you
i have been some other place
the wind that i chase it all
just leads back to you

or how i’m still, so still..
its so far and
still i’ve ran
i knew you
when i was young
but where am i now?
that i am a man

run to you
i will run i will run
i will move right on through
all these things that i have done
and you’ll take me back
i dont know why
i wanna say i’ll never do it again
but i cant, but i will try

turn look look out and see
do you see me?
cause i see think i see you
i have been some other place
the wind that i chase it all it just leads back to you
oh how i miss, what you miss
but i will fall time and again
and i will say that im true to you
but i’m a cheat
i don’t understand

run to you
i will run i will run
i will move right on through
all these things that i have done
and you’ll take me back
i dont know why
i wanna say i’ll never do it again
but i cant, but i will try

-The Rocket Summer

Seriously, I listen to Bing Crosby and Tchaikovsky on the record player and prophetic soaking music on my laptop. But the ‘Do You Feel’ album is glorious.