Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Listening Prayer

Our Church has a young adults ministry, Fusion, where they plan events/special speakers 5 times per year and typically we haven't gone, for various reasons it has never interested us. Last Saturday they had such an event and this one really peaked our interest. Our favorite worship music leader (who no longer leads) came back for this one night, and a friend of ours from Southland's Church plant, Waves of Grace, was the guest speaker! We have both really loved our conversations with him and looked forward to his take on the topic - Listening Prayer.
Now, he currently works at Southland, has ever since our WOG disbanded, and we first encountered listening prayer through Southland in late 2006, so we knew he would know his stuff. But he's also a REALLY passionate and fun speaker, so we knew it would be entertaining.
When a friend of mine also wanted to go I knew there were no excuses, we just had to go. And we were not disappointed.
Here's just a little of what we learned.
1. God still speaks to us and we can hear him! God knew that the Bible would just be interpreted by the elite intellect if he did not continue to provide us with the Holy Spirit as interpreter. He said in the Bible he has hidden his truth (secrets of the kingdom of God) from the wise, because the wise are not humble enough to listen to the Holy Spirit. Do you know who is most open to the Holy Spirit? Children! Luke 10:21.
2. God provides us with revelations we think we come to on our own, but those inklings can be the Holy Spirit moving us in a direction. We may not all have Paul moments, but if we are moved or have knowledge that are not from human reasoning or teachings or any human source then the source has only 2 other options, God or Satan. Only with practice and spending time in the Word will we know which promptings to follow.
Here's an example of an inkling he shared with us. (Story paraphrased) Just the night before he had taken out all his youth leaders for a night of evangelism, just hanging out on the street and see what opportunities arise. One leader felt inclined to go to a certain restaurant so he did, he walked into a mostly empty place and made polite nodding contact with the one other person in a booth. He felt a nudge to ask, 'are you ok?' A simple enough question that could have been brushed off, but the young man blurted out, 'No! I'm terrified of dying?' He asked another simple question he felt prompted to ask 'Do you believe in Hell?' 'Yes I do.' 'Do you believe there is also a Heaven?' 'Yes, I guess I do.' 'Do you realize you can go to Heaven instead of Hell?' In that brief conversation the guy realized he wanted to go to Heaven and he committed his life to Christ right there. In under 5 minutes! Then he got alarmed and said, 'I need to go home. My roommate. I need to tell my roommate he doesn't need to go to Hell!'
Now, this doesn't happen every time we follow the Holy Spirit's promptings, but it goes to show what can happen if we allow ourselves to be guided by the omnipotent One and not our own agendas. He had a few great examples of following promptings that led to transformed lives, simple yet amazing testimonies!

But that wasn't the really profound part.  Then he led us into listening prayer, we closed our eyes and he asked prompting questions, such as:
Do you remember a time a scripture or a sermon have jumped out at you and grabbed your attention?
Do you remember getting a prompting to do or not do something?
Have you had a dream or waking dream you felt meant more?
Where do you think God wants to meet you?
Why do you think God wants to meet you there?
What do you think God wants to say to you?
What do you think God wants to tell you about how he values you?

Both Sean and I received very impactful messages from God, in visions, in conversations, in feelings. It was SO amazing.  Every time I've been lead through listening prayer it feels this way. But he gave such great ideas so that I don't have to wait to be led through it for it to happen again.  And guess what, I've been doing it just about every day since!

Some tips he gave I've been using:
1. When he asked us, where does God want to take you?, I pictured a meadow in a valley, surrounded by lush fields of wild flowers and tall grass, surrounded by mountains, near a lake with brilliant sun beaming down on me, and I sat cross-legged in that field with Jesus. Now, every time I want to listen to him, I go there.  It calms and silences me so I can hear his still voice.
2. He suggested anything that spiritually grabs our attention, right it down, then start writing a dialogue. Lori: Why is this _______ (song, verse, moment) significant? God: Because..... Lori: What do you want me to do with .....etc.
Keep asking different questions.  Sometimes they may not be the right questions, this may cause silence, and you learn to keep asking differently until you receive answers again. Sometimes what you hear may not be God, they may be your own thoughts, or Satan's, still write it down, then compare it to the Word and for confirming or contradiction to find it's origin. If it doesn't contradict, pay attention to the answer, even if you think it might be your own thoughts, if you aren't obedient and it WAS the Holy Spirit prompting you, then what? 

I am so glad I followed the Holy Spirit's prompting to attend this particular Fusion night :) 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm a star!

I can't remember if I mentioned this way back in September-ish, but I was in a video promotion we made for our Celebrate Recovery Program at Church.  I was finally able to get a copy to use on our webspaces and thought I'd share the link here as well...check me out here! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sexual Healing - not the Marvin Gaye version

This is a message I definitely could have heard, and from a man, back when I was a teen. Share this with every teenage girl (and older!) you know!

This guy has some awesome youtube videos, like Jesus >Religion.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Good Steward - 2012

Last year was a pretty great year.  Maybe it's because I didn't start out by putting too much pressure on myself, but I sure rose to every challenge and made a lot of progress on the areas of my life I wanted to be a much better steward.  I partially have my Stewardship Goals list to thank for that, but really I was able to focus on those priorities without the 'push' of a to-do list :) So, since it worked so well last year I've got another one for this year!

Stewardship of My Finances

1. Before buying anything new first consider reusing/recycling –something from last year I didn’t get to do a lot of, but aiming for this again this year. A sewing machine is one of the first things on my I can repurpose some clothes/cloth.
2. Pay off ALL debt and invest smarter – on track this year to pay off last loan other than vehicle and house, hope to start applying those loan payments to vehicle payments by mid-year. And I just diversified my current pension plan investments, will be keeping my eye on those this year. Depending on how things are going I want to start buying shares in my company this year as well.
3. Give more tithe than we already give – continue this plan, and as I mentioned in my recap of 2011, we already have a plan to move money from an area that shouldn't have been used as an investment, upon cancelling that we'll be using the cash value we built up towards our Church's building fund.

Stewardship of My Home
4. Better scheduling of Fly Lady cleaning tactics – with at least 1, usually 2, and potentially more, days per week where we are out of the house for the whole evening after a very quick supper, I couldn’t do a tactic everyday, so I went back in my calendar and lumped a few very small or like tasks together and eliminated a few I just never found needed, so now the tactics fit much better around my busy days and take advantage of the free(r) days. Plus, I have a new item on my list (further down) that will require an emphasis on a cleaner living/eating area, so I wanted those areas to be my focus, the rest can live under a little dust a little longer.
5. Establish a Meal Plan – I am still in the process of revising some of my recipes for my change in eating habits the last half of 2011, but once I finish I will have 2 sets of meal plans, each with 3 months worth of meals, which I’ll use 2 times each year (with a little wiggle room for trying new recipes). I attached the recipe name to the frozen pre-packaged meal last time and in my non-frost-free freezer the ink got wet and blurred, so I have/will laminate my recipes which I printed in full this time to make it easier to pre-package all the ingredients at one time, last time I needed my laptop around for that....and at cooking time, which is just silly.
6. Make as much food from scratch as possible – some foods I want to add to this list this year is homemade potato bread, and I would like to can my tomatoes and any other produce I end up with a lot of (depending on how I do with my container gardening this year!).
7. House Improvements – due to our financial goals our improvements will have to be on a need basis only, which is our shingles and our tax money is already 100% dedicated to it. I might be able to squeeze out some money to finally paint over some chips in the walls though.

Stewardship of My Body
8. Wake up at 6 am for strength training – I received a pretty clear message last year that I cannot use lack of time as an excuse for activity (or prayer) and specifically I should wake up earlier for this, so at 6 am I wake up, lift weights or do pilates, and then I pray. Specifically I want to gain some upper body strength and define my flabby arms a little, as I hope to have my latest tattoo design finished and done this year, which will be on my right shoulder/bicep.
9. Lose 8 lbs and maintain that weight – the goal weight I’ve had for myself is only 8 lbs away! I intend to keep up what has worked, which in addition to above (meal plans that cut out processed junk and fast food, and strength training) I am running twice a week for no less than 30 minutes (see more below) and I’m continuing with some key food choice changes:
Twice per week: no shrimp/pork, no dairy unless fermented or other than cow milk, no white rice/bread/pasta/potato, no sugar, no snacks unless fruit and/or nuts.
Once per week: no meat
All the time: 99% pork eliminated, add more protein sources, 75% complex carbs, more natural fats, more fish, more fish oil vitamins, more veggies (specifically dark greens & cauliflower).
10. Run/Jog the Father’s Day 10 K – When my sister Tami ran the 13 mile last year I was so proud of her, and even if she’d only done the 10 K it inspired me to even once make a goal that required discipline and significant activity! I’ve known other people who have done the 10k and they weren’t tremendously in shape, and I know I can walk that with almost no effort (given I have 4+ hrs), but I want to run/jog as much of it as I can.
11. Quit an unhealthy habit – I was inspired by a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ sermon at Church, and even though I don’t make resolutions anymore it got me thinking not just about adding healthier routines to my life but also cutting out the unhealthy. Coffee is a habit I picked up from a certain someone who’s second home is Starbucks, and then at work I got to having some when the office is cold or at that 2 pm crash but I don’t even really like it unless I add a bunch of sugar, cream, etc. So, since I’m going to get dragged to Sbux anyway, and I’ll still occasionally need a hot drink to warm me up I’m switching to herbal tea (not caffeinated). I’ve never been much of a tea drinker but lately I have found some really yummy teas that don’t even need a lot of sugar or cream....definitely not as much as I put in coffee anyway! Two of them happen to be served at Sbux, so I’m set!

Stewardship of My Earth
12. Continue composting and gardening – composting I’ve been very successful at, gardening only moderately so, but I’m going to keep on trucking! I’m sticking with the container gardening because of the lack of pests or weeds (yay) but I will have to make some modifications to my soil, watering, and amount of plants, as well as pay more attention to the weather as the cold nights (despite very hot days) nipped my peppers in the bud, hahaha.
13. Eating local – I’m not sure I can commit to whole 100 mile meals but, in addition to my garden harvests I intend to shop at Farmer’s Markets much more this year now that I have some experience under my belt. I’m also determined to start buying free range/grass fed beef, chicken and lamb this year. I stumbled on to a chicken through a friend last year but now I also have a direct farm hook up!
14. Acts of Green – I want to keep up what I’m already doing/trying, specifically conserving more water, turning off/unplugging appliances daily, and again trying to dry my clothes instead of using the dryer. A new one to add, which I’ve already been working on is using less gas; being easier on the gas peddle, walking when I can, and fixing up the bikes to ride to Church.

Stewardship of My Talents/Purpose
15. Blog/Journal- I want to keep capturing the moments in life that may or may not stay in my memory on their own. Even looking at my 2011 FB statuses was a great reminder of a few things I had forgot happened. It makes me sad I may forget some wonderful moments, and so I will continue to focus on this. In addition, I may have found a few girls who would like to hang out and do creative journaling together....I’m dreaming of the possibilities :)
16. Capture memories in scrapbooks and photobooks – in keeping with my last goal, I specifically want to capture big milestones before they are too many years ago, like weddings and the nieces and nephews. I think my wedding album is certainly my last physical scrapbook (and provided I can buy some refills, it WILL be done this year!), the rest will be photobooks. I would also like to create journal/memory books as gifts for next Christmas.
17. Continue developing my creative tendancies - I don’t really have anything specific in mind, I just don’t want my creative passions to get lost among all my other goals. Creativity is very important to me but this seems like a year I may not have specific goals, other than some that overlap with other areas already mentioned. But, as a reminder for my ‘spare’ time, do something creative with it!
18. Continue my work at Celebrate Recovery – I hope we grow soon so I can delegate a few things to some new volunteers, but I’m loving being in this ministry and my particular role is challenging but fun. I also likely going to be adding another night per week by opening ny home (therefore the need to stay on top of cleanly/tidyness) to a study group for women with anxiety, these study groups go deeper into self-study than the weekly lessons on Friday nights. It makes me busier but I’ll work something out, it will be worth it!

Stewardship of My Communities
19. Marriage community – we did a marriage series at Church and we learned that men connect better doing something “shoulder to shoulder”with someone and women connect better doing something with “face to face”interaction. So I hope to do at least one 1 hour per month of his and her connections (2 hours total). I’d make it a longer period of time but 1 hr face to face just about killed Sean last time, lol.
20. Winnipeg Community – once again will be trying to donate blood before my next tattoo!
21. Friend/Family/Neighbour Community – doing things for people they can’t do for themselves is awesome, want to keep this up.
22. Aunty Community – babysit all of the munchkins again at least once.
23. Friend Community - organize/host at least one gathering of friends every other month.
24. Church Community – invite at least 2 different couples over, at least 2 separate occasions.
25. Small Group Community – Sean is finally talking about this more seriously, I’m hoping this is the year we finally get back in a small group! We may even have it in our home (again, reason for #4) I had a women’s small group that might be starting I was invited to, it hasn’t happened yet but that would be great as well.

Stewardship of My Growth
26. Continue to step out of my comfort zone – avoid labelling ‘that’s not me’and just try things first!
27. Media fast Tuesday evenings – I think I failed at this last year because it was too ambiguous. I’m making the effort to unplug EVERY Tuesday evening! Being forced to avoid the couch (because then t.v. will be just too tempting) will not only help me get my butt on the treadmill, or cleaning/tidying a little, but also do all those things I never seemed to get done (try learning guitar, play with my camera skills more, etc.)
28. Read at least 6 books, at least 4 non-fiction – another reason for an unplugged Tuesday, my pile of books to read grows faster than I know what to do with!
29. Bible Reading and Prayer – My iPhone prayer checklist has come in handy and I’m going to be using it at 6 am to keep me organized who I want to pray for, but I’ll also be journaling (in a journal I already placed next to my exercise area) to just summarize what I prayed for each person. Also, I bought a new Bible, the Expanded version, I’m so excited to read this Bible, with amplified and literal translations, references to other verses talking about the same thing, giving cultural commentary. This is a Bible you don’t just read, you chew! I think that will help me get over my habit of skimming areas I’m too familiar with. I also plan on creating a timeline and reading it chronologically rather than the order it is in the Bible. I like history, I think it will help by giving it a more historical/archealogical viewpoint.

Stewardship of Living My Life
30. Take a short road trip within Manitoba – I’m far too nomadic to not travel, I need some open road and change of scenery now and then. Finances be damned! :) I just need to go somewhere, anywhere.
31. Go to some kind of art showing – although it may just grow my list of pieces I want in my home, I love looking at art and photography, even if I can’t have it.
32. Pamper myself – treat myself to an out of the home pampering at least twice, and an in home pampering at least twice.
33. Relax – I want to learn how to just be, to stop doing (and vegging in front of the t.v. doesn’t count). I heard a speaker, Mamma Maggie, at the GLS this fall and I just loved something she said, and I want that.
“Silence your body, to listen to your words. Silence your tongue, to listen to your thoughts. Silence your thoughts, to listen to your heart. Silence your heart, to listen to your spirit. And silence your spirit, to listen to His Spirit."

So there it is, and it's even 7 less items than last year! Yahoo!

Welcome 2012, I look forward to spending time with you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Year in Statuses

The last few years I've done this FB app, I love looking back at these 'status' moments over the last year, makes me feel even more blessed.
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