“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the Lord.
“You make plans that are contrary to mine.
You make alliances not directed by my Spirit,
thus piling up your sins.
For without consulting me,
you have gone down to _______ for help.
You have put your trust in__________’s protection.
You have tried to hide in __________’s shade.
But by trusting in__________, you will be humiliated,
and by depending on_________, you will be disgraced.”
Starbucks. Tall Soy Latte.
Ahhhh….now I can make it through my day!
That is until the Spirit revealed to me…
“…without consulting Me, you have gone down to Starbucks for help. You have put your trust in Starbucks…You have tried to hide in Starbucks’ shade. But by trusting in Starbucks…and by depending on Starbucks…”
What harm could come from Starbucks? (Besides my tension headaches, nausea, sleeplessness and therefore more dependence the next morning…and the cost!) Was ruin and disgrace and humiliation really going to come from relying on Starbucks? Not necessarily. What I had was an opportunity.
Let me show you my HEART with Starbucks.
I was at work or on my way to work for 45 hours a week (and at some points up to 60), I was in 2 to 3 college courses at one time, and I was an assistant manager…which was my “niche” but extremely stressful! So, “Oh man, today is going to be SO hard!” So I drive over to Starbucks…I breathe in my freshly brewed “golden calf” and sigh, now comforted and able to face the day with the strength of Caffeine! (Not just any caffeine! Tall Soy Latte, caffeine!)
So, you can see my heart was totally like the Scripture above! I would generally consult God on how to make it through the day…I would read the Bible before going into my job or sitting down to do my homework; I would worship and meditate; I was going to church at least once a week, co-leading a Bible study… and it wasn’t everyday…just the really, really dreadful days I would go get a coffee. Despite the good I was doing, God wanted to do some work regarding this Starbucks attitude.
The realization of how Starbucks had become a sense of strength for me was very faint and zipped through my mind and I wanted to let it continue its way out of my brain at the same speed…but my spirit latched onto God’s Spirit and wouldn’t let it rest. I didn’t stop drinking it…some days I would. But I didn’t make a hard law against drinking Starbucks. But when I did get my drink I would say, “Lord, I don’t want to get my strength from this coffee, You are the One who can get me through this day, please help me, and Thank You! for this awesome coffee!” Some days I would be more aggressive and not drink it at all, “Lord, I want to rely on YOU!” Those were the harder days. I had decided to let the conviction annoy me into action and I agreed with God on my “addiction” and worked on it.
I think that I just conditioned myself to be comforted by my coffee. And I think that this can be completely harmless. We make associations with all kinds of things. But if the Spirit of God wants to challenge you in these little things, let Him. He can be preparing you or trying to protect you for a storm.
This conviction was an opportunity to strengthen my reliance on God. I think that God was helping me to associate stressful circumstances with relying on Him. And I am glad He did challenge me in something so “small.” I didn’t realize until recently that I spent years working on this before we lost our son. How glad I am that I chose to work on this for all that time…who knew that this would be a type of foundation that would help me later!
Here is the Heart of the issue:
Be open. If God shows you something that you are using to replace Him, don’t be rebellious. The people came to ruin that were rebellious to God’s prompting. He is grieved over His children who refuse to at least work with Him.
Work it out with Him. Agree with Him. Let Him help you make Him the center; the strength of your life. Then in seasons when the “heat is turned up,” you have conditioned yourself to turn to Him for strength and comfort. You won’t be disgraced or humiliated. People will see this strength in you that doesn’t make sense under the circumstances.
These little day to day “golden calves” that we attack in God’s strength are the practice grounds for the battle. This is where character is formed. This is the road to being that sweet old lady that everyone goes to for wisdom. Let God work with you in the little things.
Sock Sunday February 9th (wear your craziest socks to church)
Knocks 4 Socks is an extension of the South Sound Dream Center. It’s goal is to spread the love of Jesus by providing the most basic of clothing to those in need in the Auburn Area, pairs of socks. At Faith and Victory Church we want to have some fun while supporting this Ministry. This is how Sock Sunday was born.
So on February 9th, show your support for Knock for Socks by wearing your craziest pair of socks to church. After second service, we will be having a sock fashion show and also sock modeling opportunities. It will be a fun and probably hilarious time of fellowship. Everyone is invited to join in :).
Also during this time (and the entire month of February) we will be taking donations (of socks or money if that’s easier) for Knocks for Socks. Our Goal is that not a single person in Auburn will have a need for a decent pair of socks. New pairs of socks only (sorry no used socks). There will be a donation bucket at church or coordinate with me (Pastor Todd) to drop off socks.
Another way you can help this ministry is by “liking” the knocks for socks Facebook page (below) and sharing this blog post to your friends. Letting more people know about what’s going on with this ministry is vital to it’s growth and success. This isn’t just a FVC ministry. This is a ministry for the entire South Sound. Lets spread the word.
Last but not least, if just giving socks isn’t enough for you I urge you to prayerfully consider joining this ministry. Only half of the Knocks for Socks ministry is collecting socks. The other half is delivering those socks to the people who need them. Knocks for Socks needs people to help with this. If you are interested in helping let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Love you all and have a blessed week.
Faith and Victory Church
I had a pretty monumental day today and I wanted to share with you some of the details and what I got out of it. Today I had the honor and privilege to be able to offer the invocation for the opening session of the Washington State Senate for 2014. As a pastor, I often get called upon to attend to the needs of the people of my church, but this was the first time I have ever been called to the Washington State Capitol to offer up some prayers.
It was humbling. I’m just a guy who pastors a church in a warehouse on West Valley Highway in Auburn. I haven’t written any best sellers, I rarely get called to preach at other churches. There haven’t been any articles or books written about our church. Famous pastors do not call me friend.
But somehow, the one friend I do have in high places influenced my Senator who contacted me to come an offer the opening prayer. Very honoring. Very awesome.
Over the past week I really struggled with what to pray. The instructions I got from the Lt. Governors office was that there wasn’t supposed to be any specific references to legislation in my prayer, so from the beginning, I felt a bit limited in what I should pray. I’ve got a pretty strong opinion about quite a bit of legislation. But I’m a guy who follows the rules. As much as I encouraged Crystal that this was my chance to ‘make my mark’ or ‘make the five o’clock news’, she lovingly encouraged me to stay in the parameters of what they were asking me to do.
The morning of the prayer, I was pre-praying my prayer- trying to come up with some good stuff to zap those big wigs in the capitol with, when I got a text message from my friend Pastor John Butcher- the scripture he sent was Mark 13:11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
Technically I wasn’t being arrested, but nonetheless I took it as from the Holy Spirit. I decided to just pray what came to me when I got up. No notes. No preparation. Just some honest prayer.
Here’s what I learned today from this experience
1. Trust God and His Word
I don’t know if I ‘nailed it’ on the prayer, honestly, I’m not sure if you’re supposed to ‘nail it’ on a prayer, but watching the video of the prayer, I didn’t stumble that much. Learning to trust God in a situation can be liberating. Knowing that his presence is there to comfort you, and guide you through a situation is exhilarating. I trusted the scripture I got this morning and God showed up.
2. I still can get nervous.
I think I’ve preached at least 1500 sermons in my life so far. I figured my public speaking was solid. Today, I realized that I have the capacity to get nervous. Just between you and me, when I started to pray I couldn’t feel my arms and I am not sure exactly what I said. Watch the video and see if you can tell if I was nervous.
3. Politicians are people
I met a handful of legislators and senators today. I don’t remember them all, but my Senator is the current Senate Majority Leader, Senator Joe Fain and my Legislative Representative is Representative Mark Hargrove. Both of those gentlemen were overly gracious in welcoming us as their constituents into the Capitol, their offices and even the chambers of the Senate. Great experience spending time with them at the capitol today. Very engaging and down to earth people. Remember that next time you vote- politicians are people.
4. Community support is awesome
A bunch of my friends from church texted and called today to encourage me as I went to the capitol. I felt empowered by the ‘cloud of witnesses’ that surrounded me in prayer today as I went. Today I had the support of my family (kids didn’t mind missing school), and two other families from our church went down with me to the Capitol. Its hard to not feel loved when people re-arrange your schedule to come support you.
All in all, it was a great day. Thanks for letting me share it with you. It wasn’t ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’, but it was an outstanding experience for me.
I’ll leave you with this- You may not be called upon to lead a prayer like I did today, but some day, God is going to give you the opportunity to do something monumental in your world, and when he does, he is going to be there with you. He is going to help you and He will sustain you. Don’t worry about how or where you are going to get there, you’ll get there because God got you there and when you get there, he will be there with you.
PS Pastor Crystal gets to open a session with a prayer on January 29th. Watch for her video!
PPPS The full senate session can be seen in the text link below (prayer 8 minutes in). Pastor Matt’s prayer can be seen via youtube video below (click it).
In the beginning, there was Debt! You’re probably reaching for the bible right now saying “that’s not how it goes.” Rest assured, you are correct. But when we started our marriage, that might as well been on the first page of this particular journey. As we sit down to write this first blog, we feel the need to start with the beginning. We believe our testimony is the most powerful and effective way of changing the hearts and minds of people. We would like to share with you where our journey began.
We don’t remember the exact moment when we both said enough is enough but we do remember feeling like God must have a better plan than the one we have been working on. We have reflected on this many times over the past and it is so clear to us now, hindsight being 20/20 as most of you know. God was working on making us totally dependent on him in everything by teaching us about money.
Approximately 6 years ago, we became so frustrated with our financial situation we needed to find a better way. We cannot say we were on the edge of bankruptcy, didn’t have food to eat, clothes to wear, or a roof over our heads, but the mileage sign was beginning to show destination Brokesville ahead. How could this be, we had money to go on trips, we paid all our bills on time, we had a few overdrafts per month, we were putting into retirement, no savings, driving one new leased car and a used dodge truck that we had rolled car after car into and now paying through the roof for both, and after all of that, we would give an offering to God. How ridiculous and embarrassing this sounds now, an offering at the end of all of that. Here God, take whatever we have left over to use for Your kingdom…Here’s our leftovers. Boy, did we have it backwards. One of Jenn’s good friends had told us about Dave Ramsey. We didn’t know it then, but that name would become a staple in our house. We started with the book The Total Money Makeover. After zipping through that, we were sold. We started to budget and we looked at our finances with new eyes. During this time, we became members of Faith and Victory Church. As we continued learning what God says about money in the Bible from sermons and a divine appointment and introduction to Financial Peace University (FPU) , our minds and beliefs regarding money were transformed. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2, NKJV. We then made the decision to let go, and let God.
We will continue the story over the next blogs, going way back to the beginning one day and then zoom to the now the next. There are lessons big and small. There will be great tips you can use, and things that will convict you. The good news is this: God forgives and doesn’t remember the sin we have been engrossed in, but the new person we are striving to become as we are filled with The Holy Spirit.
Kasey and Jenn