Comfort For My City

A serial rapist attacked his 8th victim over the weekend here in Tulsa, just a half mile from our home.  The stories are all over the local news and are the topic of conversations across town; it’s in the atmosphere and on everyone’s mind.  My heart is grieved for the victims and their families, and for everyone who doesn’t feel safe in their home or apartment tonight.  I want to offer you comfort and some good advice, as well.

Throughout my life in times of terror and fear I read the words of the 91st Psalm, out loud to myself, and it reminds me that God is my protector, that angels are real and fear has no dominion over me, my mind or my atmosphere…you can read these words tonight before you go to bed, or at any time you need a little reassurance and peace:

“You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”

Now, for the good advice:

  1. Lock your doors
  2. Close your windows and lock them
  3. Close your blinds or drapes at night
  4. Don’t change clothes in front of open windows

 We are praying for the police to have wisdom and insight into this situation to bring justice quickly.  We are praying for the victims and their families to be restored and healed.  We are praying for those who are worried to receive the comfort and protection from God.  We are praying for the person(s), who is causing this terror to be arrested in his tracks supernaturally with Godly remorse and sorrow, and turn himself in.

God promises to never leave you or forsake you, you are not alone.  We love you and we are praying for you. Have a GOOD night.

Why I Started A Church

In January of this year Heidi and I opened the doors of our hearts and home and started a church, House Church Tulsa.  I didn’t start the church because I love church so much that I wanted to have more of it.  I didn’t start a church because there are no other good churches in town.  I didn’t start a church because I want to spend my life at church, doing church activities, being around church people or planning church services.

I started a church because I have a church in me and it’s the only way I know to get it out!

I have a picture of a church in me that doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before.  I have a vision of a church in me that I’m not totally sure how to build…I guess you could say, “I have a dream…” about a church that hasn’t existed yet on the earth, a church that would begin to find its expression in 2014 through a small group of people who dared to say, “Ok, we want to do it. Let’s get to work.”

And so the search for the right building materials, both human and non-human, got its start in our home this year and took a leap outside our home on Easter, April 20, 2014, to continue the search where we currently meet each Sunday at The Harwelden Mansion.

In my heart I have a picture of the people that love this church, and I’ll give you a glimpse of what they look, sound and think like; and I’ll let you how you can tell if they are part of this church: they look like people with hearts that beat out of their chests for a radical spiritual life; they look like people that don’t go to church; they sound like a harmony that no one thought the song needed; they sound like many rushing waters; they think critically and are bold to ask questions; they think. And you can tell they’re part of this church because they have received the limitless, amazing love of God through Christ Jesus and they don’t hesitate to pour it out in like manner on everyone who will take it.

Every Sunday morning at 10:30, and sometimes on Friday nights, the search continues.

I want to see you there, I want to see if you are one of them.

Always Speaking

Part of my job is to verify benefit insurance information for our patients.  In my attempt to gather that information today, I was put through a series of recorded messages that would not allow me the option to speak to a customer service advocate.  It seemed as though I had been caught in an eternal loop of number after number that was incorrect and no REAL person to speak to! Can you feel my frustration?!

While on hold, I happened to pick up my phone and read the following post made by one of my friends, because what else do you do when you are on hold except check Facebook?

I found this post to be absolute confirmation that God is always speaking to me right where I am, even in the middle of almost having a meltdown, I read the following:

 “Patience above all else, is what is needed right now.  Do not let anxiousness or frustration take over. Conditions on the exterior of your experience will change, but your highest benefit will be achieved when conditions in your interior remain the same. Hold to your inner peace. Reclaim your identity. Trust your higher wisdom. Look to the grander vision.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

I have never heard of this writer but God spoke to me through him. How awesome is that?!

Listen and you will hear him speaking to you.

Much Love,

Heidi

Dig Deeper

Recently I have started gardening.  It’s nothing fancy but I have a few herbs and a tomato plant that I tend to every day.  Now, I’ll be honest – I don’t know a lot about gardening.  Aside from water, sun, and soil, I have searched the web and asked questions to find out what I needed to do to grow the best plants.  The herbs started out as seeds and recently I had to transplant them to larger pots as their roots had no more space to expand and growth had stopped.   Common sense told me that if I pulled the plants out of the original container and just laid them on the ground, they would never receive everything they needed to grow bigger and stronger.  I knew immediately that I needed good soil and that I would need to do a little work and dig a little deeper to reach the nutrients the plants needed.

The same holds true for our relationship with God.  Digging deeper into His Word and spending time in fellowship with Him provides us with the nutrients we need to grow bigger and stronger.  And just like my little garden won’t feed me if it’s not growing, I can’t feed others if I don’t remain in the soil of a loving, living relationship with God.

Glory in the Church

Glory looks like something for example, “the glory of a flower,” or, “the train that was restored to its former glory,” or, “his glory days as a high school basketball star.” When the word “glory” is used like this, we get a mental image of something magnificent, beautiful, awesome or great.  In the Bible the word “glory” is used to ascribe praise to God like, “Glory to God!” or to describe the “weighty” presence of God in an atmosphere or in a sanctuary or in a person.

In the picture attached to this blog, the branches of my Rose of Sharon are bowing low with the weight of the glory of the flowers! Or imagine a peach tree’s branches bowing low with the weight of the glory of fully ripened fruit!  Wow! What images of beauty and goodness! I can almost taste the sweet juicy fruit of a ripe peach as I type…

In Ephesians 3, Paul prays for the church (that’s all of us) like this:

“…I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His GLORY, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ with passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works IN US, to Him GLORY in the CHURCH by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Did you catch that? He said there’s a power working IN us, that there’s GLORY IN the church (that’s all of us).  There’s GLORY in you! There’s GLORY in me!  And, this wonderful passage above says that the glory is filling us and able to work in us to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or even think.

Glory looks like something.  When glory is manifested in us, and around us, it’s as plain to see as the fruit on the branches or the flowers on the tree, and it changes their disposition…it bows them low with the weight of the glory.

Selah.