Friday, November 28, 2008

That Day of Giving Thanks

I enjoy thanksgiving just like anyone else does. Food and fellowship is always great but this thanksgiving was a little more difficult. The reason why is because the seats around the dinner table weren't filled like they have been the past 22 years of my life.

I didn't realize it fully until my Dad led our family in prayer. As a family we've had 4 significant deaths from people that we loved in 2008 so far. Our friends Corey and Casey Todd lost their father Jerry Todd. Daniel Hooper and I even made a visit to the hospital where he was in critical condition. The Todd's have been close family friends and we labored with them during this time of uncertainty and loss.

We also lost my Grandpa Harry, who was actually my step Grandpa since my Dad's mom was widowed early in his life. He was a sweet old man who had a calm demeanor and understood what it meant to walk by Faith.

Then we unexpectantly lost my best friends mom, Barbara Brown. I lost her too. This woman was my second mom and I love her dearly. She was one of the Godliest women I have ever encountered. She was somehow able to sternly discipline without showing any kind of wavering love. And believe me, I was disciplined without hesitation. She was a prayer warrior of warriors. You cannot even grasp the kind of battles she prayed through by any amount of writing that I could make appear on this page. She prayed. She sacrificially gave her time, suburban gasoline for shuttling us ALL, money, sweat and prayers. I am still so amazed at what Christ had been doing in her and through her. I still shed tears when I think of her and her Godly example.

I also recently lost my mom's mom, my Grandma Alice who I've written about in past blogs. I will probably never know what kind of trials and tribulations I was prayed past and through by this woman. She was faithful to seek her King and longed to see Him more than anything. This woman loved wholeheartedly and she forgave.

All these things rushed through my mind during my Dad's 3 minute prayer and our family Amened with teary eyes.

This year, I'm thankful for my family staying resolute in their commitments to the Lord. I'm thankful for the Godly examples the Lord has given me in my life. These people turned my life upside down for Jesus. Now I want a better legacy. Thank you Jesus. Maranatha.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preach the Word

Okay so the Preach the Word conference is happening now. It is being hosted at my home church any there are some amazing speakers teaching and giving biblical principals on how to Preach the Word. And I'm not there.

This is wack. I'm not gonna candy coat it, I'm pretty bummed. I'm watching everyone's status updates online and I kinda envy them. I do hope that my friends continue to be blessed by the conference and I can only pray that they will keep learning God's Word. Hopefully there will be a dvd or something that I can gleam onto.

Maybe I can do something useful while everyone is at the conference...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's the Lord who's faithful

So not last night, but the night before I had this dream. Let me precede my dream with a little reality check. So this past weekend and even the latter part of the week I had been feeling really down. I had been my own victim to a lot of spiritual warfare that was happening. I felt like I had lost my sense of direction and really was lacking any motivation spiritually.

But then last, last night I had this dream. Granted it was a weird dream if you were there with me but this one part stood out. So this girl (who will be unnamed) makes a cameo and just walks out between two cars, hands me a gift and leaves. So later I'm handling the gift and I look at it and it has writing on it. It says something nice on it and also written on it is Philippians 1:6. Shortly after that I wake up.

The funny thing is I know the verse if I hear it, but I am not familiar with the chapter and verse location. So I look it up and it says, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" Wow. I've never had a dream with a Bible verse in it before. I was so excited after I looked that up and meditated on it. God is so good and faithful to give us just what we need when we need it. Needless to say, I know where that verse is now.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cool Down

So I realize that I don't post all the time and when I do they are huge detailed blogs. Thanks for reading them, I appreciate it. But I think I need to make room for some randomness in these blogs. Here you go.

Dogs rule. Cats drool.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

From Chaos to Order

It's been said numerous time that Chaos cannot turn into Order. That's false. Let me explain.

Friday night witnessing started out like any other Friday night. On a side note, yesterday was Billy Graham's 90th birthday - I thought going witnessing was a cool way of celebrating it. Anyways, nothing unusual was happening up to this point. Actually I will mention that group selection was kind of weird I noticed. I had Josh and Brennten in my group; just thought that was odd. But the night continues...

The groups felt weird to me, then we left for the Plaza off of Central ave. Most of the car groups had arrived when that pesky little truck with the lights on top drove by our congregation and of course; stopped. Kenny was talking with the security guy and I noticed he was talking for way too long. I knew this wasn't good. Long conversation short, we got the boot so we decided to roll over to Tyler to salvage the rest of the night.

Earlier, everyone had been arriving late because of supposed traffic on the 215 and 91. So with that considered we jump on the 91 fwy and blast towards Tyler avenue to hit up the Galleria. Everything's going good so far, my car was jammin to some Ambassador when we pass Van Buren ave and hit dead traffic. Noooooooooo! So this is like 7-10mph traffic. I'm bummed at this point. First we get kicked out, now a grip of traffic. I figured we're all going to be sitting in the Barnes and Noble parking lot waiting for everyone to show up. So we continue creeping along forever and to my just to see a car smash his brakes and get rear ended! My jaw dropped and everyone in my car exclaimed at what just happened. So we mergy merged and found ourselves in the parking lot waiting.

So my group members were actually there fairly quickly so we grouped up and prayed. As a side note, we did get the Day7 fliers to each other before we left Harvest so that worked out. So after we prayed we wander inside, the girls and Brentenn had to use the restroom. Then we walked up the stairs and towards the other end of the mall. We get upstairs and noone has gotten in conversation yet. Personally, I was feeling kind of exasperated. Then Brentenn calls me out and said what I was thinking and told me to lead my flock! I smiled and said, "Okay!" Right then, on the top floor near JC Penny, these two guys were about to cross our path so me and Brentoni hit em up.

Turns out that one of them is the son of a missionary of Cambodia. That same guy, his name is Travis, his dad is the pastor of a church.. in his house! They have a small church that meets and they study the Bible together. I asked his friend where he goes to church he pointed to his friend and said, "his house." I laughed, I thought that was so cool. So I keep probing these kids to see where they're at with the Lord by asking different questions. I had discerned from the beginning that these guys were Christians. I could see it in their eyes. Discernment is one of the gifts the Lord has blessed me with; I can look into someone's eyes and I can recognize if they have the Holy Spirit or not. So at this point in the conversation I just started to encourage them. These guys were solid Christians too, it is such a blessing to run into those kinds every once and while. I encouraged them to find out specifically where God is calling them. This is something I've been agonizing over, so I had a lot of insight to give them based on some of the things that I've read. So I prayed with them, told them I'd see them in Heaven again and we could catch up on all the work that we've done for the Lord then. So they walked away with joy on their faces and in their hearts into JC Penny.

Afterwords, Brentoni and I were basking in the conversation we had. It was such a refreshing conversation. But consider this, after all of the crazy things that happened: the time to set up groups/cars, the time to drive to the plaza, the time spent talking to that security guard, the time driving on the 91, the time sitting in traffic on the 91, the time grouping up all the way until the time we spent walking upstairs - we met these guys and talked to them about Jesus. That's so cool!! All of a sudden everything we labored through earlier made sense.

The only way Chaos can be turned into Order, is through an intelligence. Only God can turn our Chaos into Order. Amen.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Promises of a Future and a Hope - Part 2

If you've read my past blog post and are still reading: Thank You! This post has gotten larger than what I expected it; but I believe it's results are most intriguing.

Although I had just gotten the text that my grandma had just passed away I knew what my responsibilities were. There was a quick pain in my heart after reading it, followed by a constant flowing of peace that continues as I write this. I didn't have to rush home, my grandma wasn't there. I led the Christian soldiers back to Harvest and had a fun time setting up chairs for the Sunday morning service. In more ways than one the Lord blessed that night.

I returned home expecting a weeping mother and sorrowful family. I couldn't find them. My mother had one of the calmest composures I had ever witnessed following such an event.

Anyway, this blog wasn't supposed to be about my Grandma's passing but what happened earlier today at the funeral. So now to the intriguing part.

I had to work today. That stunk. So I vroom from work to the Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale. The chapel that the ceremony was in was the same place my grandpa, her husband was at many years ago. The place had shrunk since then. Leading the services was Pastor Jim Schultz who pastored the church my grandma used to attend in Glendale. He was a very kind man who had bright white hair accompanied by a deep preacher voice and was nice enough to cancel his other plans to do this ceremony for our family.

It came time for the open mic session of the ceremony. Many friends of the family and family members stood up or went to the front and shared kind, inspiring memories at the Godly woman my grandma Alice was. Pastor Schultz asked if there was anyone else who wanted to say anything. I raised my hand sheepishly but my dad blasted out of his seat and said some nice words and gave thanks from the family. After my dad sat down the Pastor gave a last call. My other grandma who was sitting next to me saw me raise my hand and nudged me to go for it.

I stood up, but I didn't just stand up. I walked to front of the stage, but I didn't stand there. I walked all the way to the mic'd pulpit and placed my bible down. I didn't have anything written down or prepared but I shared John 11:25 and also Galatians 5:22-23 from my heart. I just briefly talked about how the fruits of the spirit were evidenced in her life.

Then I left the pulpit and went to sit down. Pastor Schultz returned to his pulpit and rhetorically asked me from the pulpit, "David, have you ever thought about becoming a preacher? That was great." Actually I have thought about it. I can't seem to stop thinking about it. My grandma gave me praise for my kind words and echoed the pastor's sentiments. She said that mantle was being passed on to me from him. I understood what she meant but as I was writing this I now understand the significance. She was referring to 1 Kings 19:19 which says, "So [Elijah] departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him." I was complimented also the brother of my grandma who was just encouraging me who is also a preacher. Lord, this seems to be where you're guiding me.

I talked with Pastor Schultz a little after the ceremony and he invested a few personal moments with me and where I thought the Lord was calling me. In fact, (I told him) I was reading a book entitled, "Is God Calling Me?" We talked for a bit more and he shared his own experience being called to serve the Lord. All of this was very refreshing and encouraging for me. Throughout the day I also received a couple other encouraging words, comments and pieces of Godly wisdom and advice from family members. I am thankful for all of those. But this is where it gets interesting.

Years ago my Grandma Alice (the one who passed away) shared this story with me when I was much younger. My mother also confirmed this story, you can ask her! According to my grandma the night before I was born my grandma had a dream. She had a dream about me. I've never shared this with anyone outside of the family, but she had a dream that I was speaking in front of a large crowd. She said I was speaking to a crowd like Billy Graham did. She said that I was a Pastor.

Weird, huh?

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Lord, show me your plan! Bring it!

Promises of a Future and a Hope - Part 1

The past few weeks have been interesting. Try and keep up.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

My grandma from my mother's side has been living with us for the past few years. She has always been a blessing to me. She was a kind hearted 91 year old woman who closely resembled the Proverbs 31 woman that all Godly men desire. She was also very generous; there were times when I would be on the computer playing a game and she would walk by and just drop a $20 bill, say she loved me and went to her room. My jaw is still hanging to the ground to this day because of her random acts of lovingkindness. She prayed too. Not just for herself but others above her ownself mainly. When she said she would pray for something I know I could take it to the bank. She also always had the nicest things to say. Every morning she would compliment me on the color of my shirt, my hair or my peanut butter and jelly sandwich lol.

A few weeks before New York came the Lord was ministering to my heart and mind. He was indicating to me that I would lose him while I was in New York on the SWAT trip. I tried not to think much of it but only a few days before I had to leave for New York she had to go to the hospital for some various things. I wanted to visit her before I left for New York so the Wednesday afternoon (day before) we were to leave, I visited her in the hospital with my mom. She was struggling and looked weak and frail until she looked up at us. The biggest smile came across her face and I'm not sure how to explain it but I saw Jesus in her big beautiful blue eyes. She was happy to see us and I was really happy to see her while I still could. We sat and talked for an hour. Then I asked her how she came to know Jesus. That story maybe one for another blog, but she basically 'found' Jesus by studying and became a witness to her unsaved family. She led them all to the Lord, what an amazing testimony.

So I left for New York reflecting on our last time together. And while I was in New York I kept waiting for that text. I kept waiting for that text that was going to confirm what I already knew. Interestingly Aaron Adame prayed (at some point) during the SWAT trip that noone would receive any ill news of any kind. And I didn't. So I figured that when I would physically return home I would get the news that my mom was keeping from me.

After I arrived home I found my mom wandering around the house. The news was that grandma was actually in the hospital and was coming home the next day. She would be under hospice care at the home. A day or so later I went in to see her. She was physically deteriorating; she had a machine helping her breathe and looked much more frail. But those eyes... still so full of Jesus and the word she said were filled with love. The first thing she asked me was how my trip went. Even in the state of being she was, she put others first.

Saturday night I was blessed with leading SWAT witnessing. I just finished up having a really good 25 minute conversation with two guys who were skeptical about Christianity and had lots of legitimate questions when I got the text. It read that Grandma passed away about 5-10 minutes ago.

There is more. You can find it here.