New blog

New Blog:

Check it out... let me know what you think.  


A Life of Doorkeeping

Pastor Dino Rizzo spoke last Wednesday night in the new Arena regarding Ps 84. There is so much depth in the Psalms if we just take the time to pick it apart. Pastor chose Ps 84 to pick apart.  I was especially intriged with verse 10 seeing how fitting it is for us at HPC.  We need so many more serving the house. I loved the message and thought I would share it with you. Enjoy!

"Soul Food Series"

The living presence of God radiates out of our lives as we serve Him with gladness and grace.  Its in how we treat others.  It's in how we live.  (we read through the entire chapter 84, but Pastor commented on a few verses in particular)

Vs. 2: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Only God can create living among the dieing.  Our God is a living breathing God.

Vs. 3: Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
The sparrow laying her eggs represents new life in God's house and in His presence.

Vs. 6: As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
A belivers life is a pilgramage.  You never quite get there until in His presence. 
It's a life long journey.

Vs. 10: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
If we are going to be a Doorkeeper, then we need to know what it means.  It's to abide by the threshold of God.  It's individual as well as corporate.  The Doorkeeper stands by the door.  They watch and notice things that others do not notice.  Someone who sees things going on that others don't pick up.  To be a Doorkeeper we must know what it means.  What is the responsibility, the outcome, the goal? 
Questions: Am I a Doorkeeper in my family, in my work, in my marriage?

1.  Doorkeepers help roll out the welcome mat.  They make sure it's rolled out.  They need to be welcoming.
Ever felt unwelcome?  If so, what was your response?  (never returning there, not gonna go back)
Questions:  Is my life welcoming to others?  How about at work?  Does my life say welcome at home?
Welcoming creates supernatural things.
Doorkeepers keep an eye out for the guest.
Being welcomed is a feeling.  When you go somewhere and they already know your name or are waiting on you, then you feel special and wanted. 
May God pour out a welcoming spirit on us.

2.  Doorkeepers bring energy and enthusiasm to a person's experience.
Ever been to a nice hotel?  They open the door for you, they already know you by name, they serve you.  What happens when no one speaks to you?  It makes you want to leave.  It takes a daily effort.  This is big for us in the kingdom of God. 
We've got to make sure the experience is great for every person that enters the House of the Lord.  It's not about a sermon or lighting or whatever.  It's about a persons experience with Jesus. 

3.  As a Doorkeeper, all of our invites become my responsibility. 
It is my responsibility to get the door for anyone that has been invited.  Everybody is everyone's responsibility.
With more invites, there is more work.  Doorkeepers are ok with more work.
It's about the view. Doorkeepers get to see something others don't see.  They have a perception of things that others may overlook or just miss.  They are attentive.

4.  Doorkeepers decide to give their best. 
Doorkeepers are convinced what's about to happen inside has the ability to change ones life.  They believe what they have experienced inside is available to all who enter.  "What God has done in my life, He can do in yours!"  
Doorkeepers are always serving.  They serve at the grocery store, the church, their work...  They serve everywhere they go.  Question:  What am I serving everywhere I go?
Doorkeepers believe in the Bible...the Word of God.  They are convinced in it.
Doorkeepers say "I'll change my life for you so that you can have this experience too.  I'll change my ... my parking spot, my service, my life just for you."  

Lord help us if it's ever not.

I have been thinking about this message for the past week.  Speaking of message, I love the Message Version which says "I'd rather scrub the floors in the house of the Lord..."  What a great word about serving as a greeter (or any other area).  Made me think of the following questions in my personal life:
Am I welcoming to those in my life?
Do I bring energy or do I drain others in my serving?
Is my life speaking radiating Christ to others?

On a different but similar note, I read a devotional sunday morning mentioning "am I serving for rewards/blessing OR am I serving for God?" 

Lord, let it not be about a reward, recognition or blessing ... ever.  God, may my Doorkeeping be worship unto You.  Let me never look at it as an inconvenience or just as a job/duty.  Lord, open my eyes to Your perspective.  Give me Your view.  May my 10 seconds I have with someone coming in the door be a pleasing aroma to You and not some stinky odor.  May I be welcoming!  In Jesus mighty name!


Lord, Do YOU Think I'm Beautiful?

So, wow!  I didn't do very well posting in February.  I've been on sort of a writing halt for the past month.  Busy is the word.  I really don't like that word, but that's the one I'm gonna stick with.  Between family, work, more family, accident details, and a few random trips, 2010 has been a melting pot of experiences.  Honestly, I've never felt so close to God than I have last month or two.  I cannot quite explain it.  So much turmoil, yet so much peace.  I've seen His hand so very clearly in my life.

I began a new Bible study with a few of my close friends.  We've decided (thanks to the suggestion of Zoe) to go with "Do You Think I Am Beautiful?" by Angela Thomas.  Whoa!  That's about all I can muster up because it takes my breath away.  We are on week two and I feel as if I've studied a month already in a good way.  I was so ready for this yet I didn't even know it.  Angela, way to write straight to the heart of every woman!  If you are a female, I recommend this book and/or Bible study to you.  It's one of those "you gotta read this" for me.  Get a group of your friends together girls... you cannot go wrong on this one.

One thing I've realized in 2010 is the world tends to stifle the whisper of God.  The world wants to remove beauty from my vocabulary.  It's constantly reminding me of the "ugly" in my life.  The ugly hair days, the ugly attitude moments, the ugly insecurity, the ugly whatever it can find to hold over my head.  Can you hear it?  Can you hear God's whisper?  It's time we lean in and listen.  He's not only whispering but He's singing His love over all of us.  Can you hear it?  If not, lean in and listen.  Has your situation's noisy voice drowned out the whisper of the Father?  If it has, lean in past the noise and listen.  Do you feel unworthy or not good enough to hear Him?  He's speaking to all of us and that includes you.  He's crazy about you!!  Lean in and listen.  He wants to whisper sweet somethings to you.  You are valuable.

Speaking of leaning in and listening, I think I'll go do just that.  Nothing like taking your own advice.  Until next time, lean in and listen.  See you before April, I promise. 


Prayer Lake

Retreats....  I often wonder why they are called this.  When I think of retreat, I imagine someone in battle deciding they cannot make it and running away from their opponent, fleeing.  On the other hand, what a "treat" retreats are.  I guess "re"-treating yourself to God is just that, one big treat.

Prayer Lake was more than I expected.  I am partial to the outdoors although I'm such a girl.  I want to see it all (wildlife) but I'm totally afraid of being near it.  I find thats when I experience God the most.  Through nature.  We were delighted to find out upon our arrival that we were in the Rose Cabin.  The pictures online were so cute, however, I would later learn that the room was much more than cute.  We didn't have time to check in the cabin before, so Nancy, Natalie and I settled right in for supper and a seat on the comfy couch.  We were expecting to hear from God (along with a room of women) and that's all that really mattered.  The speakers wasted no time presenting their topic.  I may have gone expecting, but I received so much more than anticipated.  

In an effort not to give away all of Joy Mounger and Lynn McCain's material (which would be pages and pages of many GREAT words), here are five of the MANY take-away's I received:

  • Life tries to steal away what we are all born with...Hope.  God doesn't create one person without hope inside of them.  The enemy comes to steal it at every opportunity he has.  However, God (knowing this would happen) planned in advance providing a way out.  He helps us reclaim the hope stolen from our very own hearts.  We must seek God all of the time, not just in crisis.  If we only seek Him in times of crisis, we'll be empty and hopeless.  Questions:  Am I in possession of my hope? Am I a crisis seeker or a full-time pursuer?
  • "You don't find ministry...it finds you."  We are all on a journey.  We try to pack more than we need in our suit case although we can only bring certain things.  When we overpack, the suitcase will prevent us from making it to our destination.  Very profound thought!  Too much weight, we cannot carry it.  Without the items we need, we are ill-prepared.  With items not approved, we cannot make it through check-in. Question:  What am I trying to pack that prevents me from moving forward?
  • God personally dealt with me about stealing the calling of others.  OUCH!  Either Joy or Lynn may have referenced this, but God definitely spoke this to me in detail.  When you do more than God calls you to do, it's stealing someone else's calling.  They were intended to do a job and if I do it for them, then it prevents them from stepping out and growing.  If I don't do my own calling, then I am stealing someone else's time that they should be using to fulfill their own calling.  Question:  Am I stealing?
  • Repent for judging spiritual authority.  We have to protect our pastors and leaders.  If they are not doing something right, it's not our place to announce it to the congregation and make them all question the authority.  If God placed them there, we are to pray for them.  If you've already talked about their authority or judged them, then repent.  
  • If you close your eyes and imagine God's Throne, where are you standing in relation to it?  If you aren't sitting in God's lap, run as fast as you can to get there.  I have never been one to see myself there, but this weekend, I finally did.  No better place to be.  Question:  Where are you in relation to the Throne?
Here's a few photos of our weekend at Prayer Lake.  Sorry, the beds not made, but you get the idea of how great the room is.  There is another retreat coming up in March.  I only picked a few points from the weekend to share so you can go experience it for yourself.  If you cannot make it, dig in to those questions above.  If you have not been to Prayer Lake, you should go.  Very worth the drive and time.  The place itself is so very peaceful and relaxing.  Take some time and go treat yourself!  You'll be glad you did. 


To Skip or Not To Skip?

It's been a great 3 weeks (well, almost 3 weeks) of Prayer and Fasting.  Being completely transparent with you, I usually just skip around in the Psalms.  Every time I get to chapter 119, I usually shutter with intimidation at the sheer size of the chapter, and hurriedly flip the pages to the 130's (as if I must out run it or something).  That's where some of my favorite chapters are; mainly chapter 139.  

For all practical purposes, mostly out of obedience, I dove into chapter 119.  Tackling a mere 8 verses daily, I found some of the best kept secrets the Bible has to offer.  I learned  1. wisdom of the believer is found in God's commands, 2. His perfect unfailing love is constantly at our disposal, and 3. safety is at our fingertips when we obey.  So very many great lessons to learn!  Not only lessons from His Word, but lessons in not skipping things just because of the size or any other excuse.  Don't let large chapters intimidate you.  They are filled with God's wisdom just like short chapters.  Great things come in small packages... and evidently large chapters too.  

What are you skipping over in the Bible?  
Challenge:  Dig in & find the treasures of God's heart.

I think my next challenge is Song of Songs.  (long pause)  I actually just shuttered typing the name.  I always intentionally skip the entire book because it's... so... well... it's gotten a bad wrap.  It's God's Word.  There is freedom in wrestling the areas of our lives that hold us back.  I think the question is:  What am I missing?  Time to find out!


Mountains and Valleys

Our church is in a series called: Twenty-Ten: A New Adventure.  Pastor Dino's message was very inspiring to me so I thought I'd share a couple of notes from it.  If you want to hear the message, then you can go to online.healingplacechurch.org at 8pm Sunday, Jan 24, and Tuesday, Jan 26 -OR- Friday, Jan 29 at 11am.

Pastor Dino Rizzo, January 23rd Saturday Service
On an adventure you can see things you've never seen before.  The real question is are we ready for the Mountains and Valleys in 2010?  There will be Mountains and there will be Valleys.  That's a fact.
Matthew 17:1-9

1.  MOUNTAIN - The mountain represent meeting with God.  Being connected.  We've got to have the mountain top experiences in our lives.  Without them we'll never be ready for the Valley.  What the disciples "saw" changed them.  Their perspective was different after having heard from God.  Alone time on the mountain is where you receive direction from God and hear His voice (vs 1 "led them up a high mountain to be alone").  Being with God transforms you.

Peter witnessed the radiance of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  Peter blurted out his thoughts as if he actually had something to contribute to Jesus, Moses, and Elijah's conversation.  Sometimes it's best to just be quiet.  Brother Wayne Austin says "Silence is wisdom.  When you open your mouth, then everyone knows what's going on for sure."  God silenced Peter and gave him direction.  (vs 4 ends with God saying "Listen to Him.")

2.  VALLEY - The valley represents the craziness of life, powerless moments, lack, negativity.  Things happen in the valley.  Don't get too busy that you take up residence in the valley.  Gotta get back to the mountain to refuel. 

Vs 9 "as they went back down the mountain"... Pastor Dino says "Some days you're on top of the mountain, some days you're on your way up or down the mountain, and other days you're at the foot of the mountain in the valley.  That's the adventure."  So much truth to this.  Every day is an adventure in life.  Some days are better than others. 

3.  Why did Jesus go to the mountain?  To hear and listen to God's voice.  It's that simple.  We MUST hear God's voice.  We need direction. 

4.  Why do "I" need the mountain?  Same reason as Jesus.  If Jesus needed to regularly go to the mountain to be alone, how much more do I need it?  If we are going to be all that we are created to be in life, we must receive His direction.

QUESTION:  Am we asking: "what does God want me to do?" OR "what do I want to do?"  We cannot hear God in the valley.  We need to get to the mountain.  It's not what I know, but Who I know. 

Pastor Dino interviewed Pastor Mike Haman who recently returned from Haiti. Pastor Mike shared some of the things he witnessed.  He also mentioned it was very significant that he had been in a specific time of prayer and fasting (Awakening: 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting (on the mountain top with God)) at the time of the earthquake.  Has he not, he would not be prepared to be in Haiti (the valley).  Matt 25:13 

Pastor closed on the thought of there are only 2 places you will wake up when you die.  When the earthquake hit, all of those thousands of precious people woke up in either Heaven or Hell.  He asked the question:  Do you know which one it will be for you?  Need to be certain.  Don't wait.  Be prepared.  Make the decision today.


Day 2: Purity Revealed

These 21 days are going to be phenomenal!  Already, I'm 2 for 2 on hearing great things from God.  Today's reading for the 21 Days of Prayer consisted of verses 9 through 16 of Psalm 119.  As you may have already imagined, I found a jewel in those 8 verses.  Being someone passionate about the pursuit of purity, verse 9 hit me like a brick.  It reads:
"How can a young person stay pure? 
By obeying Your Word."
Some versions continue saying "and following its rules."  As I read the words, I thought "That's it young people!  Get in the Word!"  It's as if I was lost in the woods and suddenly came across a path leading somewhere.  Actually this truth applies not only to the young, but everyone.  Male or female.  Young or young at heart (9 days until I celebrate 40, so I'm not really liking the word old right now).  Searching throughout the Bible for years, I've been seeking "the answer".  God finally opened my eyes to HIS answer:  The key to purity isn't found in one or two or three verses, but in the entire Bible.  Purity is a product of obedience to God's simple commands.  I wonder what nuggets tomorrow holds for all of us.   
Question:  How can I be more obedient to God's Word?
Today's reading:  Psalm 119:9-16


21 Days of Prayer

I love setting aside time for dedicated prayer!  Our church, Healing Place Church, is joining with many other churches for 21 Days of Prayer.  During this time, we will be focusing on Psalm 119...a monster of a chapter having over 70 verses.  
Due to it's sheer size, I often skip this chapter while browsing the Psalms, but was pleasantly surprised this morning.  Today, day 1, we read verses 1 through 8.  I love the ending verse for today.  Please do not give up on me!  I especially like the punch at the end.  The exclamation point!  I am sure I over-use them, but I think it's the passionate side of me that likes them the most.  
If I were to be completely honest with you, I feel like I don't live up to my potential most days.  Maybe it's an attitude needing adjustment, perfectionism that I can never attain, who knows what it is.  Other days I feel like I'm on my game.  Regardless of the day, let my prayer everyday be "Lord, please do not give up on me!!!!!!"  I think this pretty much sums up my plea.
My prayer for these 21 days is two fold:  1.  I would grow closer to God to hear His voice more clearly every day, and 2. God would give me direction about where to submit the manuscript to for publishing. 

Today's reading:  Psalm 119

 1 Joyful are people of integrity,
      who follow the instructions of the Lord.
 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
      and search for him with all their hearts.
 3 They do not compromise with evil,
      and they walk only in his paths.
 4 You have charged us
      to keep your commandments carefully.
 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
      reflect your decrees!
 6 Then I will not be ashamed
      when I compare my life with your commands.
 7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
      I will thank you by living as I should!
 8 I will obey your decrees.
      Please don’t give up on me!