Encouraging faith around the toilet

The past several months have been some of the best months I have experienced in a long time.  Why? Read on…

Over the past couple of years (and maybe more), I have struggled to see where God is, where I am in God, and where it is I belong.  I have sought the Lord.  I have prayed and read the Bible.  I have read devotionals.  I have talked with friends.  I have gone to church and attended Sunday School. I have attempted to teach a couple of times. And earlier this summer I went on a mission trip where I believe things began to change. I had about given up.

I’m in the midst of reading 1 Kings right now in the Old Testament.  While reading, 1 Kings 17 – 19, I read about Elijah: A man who speaks with the Lord, fed by ravens and angels, a man of prayer, used by God to raise the dead, prayed for rain in a little whose God is bigger tournament on Mount Carmel, and a man, when challenged, was afraid.

I can relate to Elijah… especially as it pertains to running from my fear.  When Elijah was challenged by Jezebel he ran in fear.  In 1 Kings 19:13, “And behold, there came a voice to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?”  I’m pretty sure I have heard that in my own spirit before as well.  There are a few other things that stand out to me this morning in the midst of his fear.

  1. The Lord was with him.
  2. He was not forgotten.
  3. God still had a purpose, work, and a plan with his life.
  4. There was nothing too big God can’t overcome.
  5. God wanted him to mentor someone else (Elisha)

God has been speaking to me lately in so many wonderful ways.  If you are new to faith in Jesus or are seeking to understand who Jesus is, I want you to know I don’t hear him audibly.  I see/hear Him as I read His Bible.  I hear him as I contemplate and pray over and through His Word (Bible). I hear Him speak to me through other Christians and circumstances in my life.  I personally love to have a spot where I can sit, pray, and read the Bible.  It’s our meeting place.  If you don’t have a place where you meet with God I encourage you to find a place and ask the Lord to meet you there.

So, what does this have to do with faith and a toilet?  I’m looking to tackle a couple of little projects around the house.  I met with a good friend last night to discuss some of those things he may help me with.  The toilet was on my list.  I had looked at this toilet a couple of times by myself.  (I really hate working on things like this).  The couple of times I had looked at it by myself I never saw what the problem was.  I just thought I was going to have to replace all the stuff in the back of the toilet.

Well, last night he pulled the lid off and I stood there looking at it from a different angle.  A new perspective so to speak.  Immediately, I saw what the problem was.  The little chain was keeping the rubber-flapper-deal from closing all the way which was keeping the water running.  BAM, problem solved!! Thanks Randy!!

Why couldn’t I see that before?  I don’t know.  But the lesson is that we need others in our lives so we can see life from a different perspective.  Randy and I have met together for years (almost once a week) to share with each other from the Bible, a book we are reading, prayer, and just to plain-ole talk.  We have taken a little break from that the last couple of years but God has brought us back to our meeting time in recent weeks.  I’m so glad He did.  I need fresh perspective in my life.  And I need to be able to share with someone else what God is teaching me.  Our meeting time is one of real encouragement.

If you don’t have someone you meet with I highly encourage you to find someone to share with.  Maybe you need to seek someone out who needs a friend that you can mentor.  Or maybe you need an Elijah in your life to help you grow in your faith and understanding of God.

Until next time… Roye

 

 

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The Secret To Living A Defiant Joy: An interview with Margaret Feinberg

One of my favorite authors, Margaret Feinberg, has been through a brutal fight with cancer and shares the unexpected lessons she discovered along the way in her new book and Bible study Fight Back With Joy.

It’s been inspiring to learn how Margaret has been practicing a defiant joy, and I thought you might like to get an insider’s look, a sneak peek of the video and read an interview with Margaret.

Preview the 6-Session DVD Bible Study, here.GREAT-JOY

Your newest book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, was born out of your
fight with a life-threatening illness. What was your difficult diagnosis, and what has your journey to health entailed?

For the last 18 months, I’ve been battling breast cancer. Breast cancer isn’t just one
disease it represents thousands of different diseases with their varying components and factors. Being diagnosed under the age of 40 is significant. I’ve been through a brutal year of chemotherapy, radiation, and more surgeries than I can count or want to remember.

Why did you write Fight Back With Joy?

I studied joy for a year and was putting the finishing touches on my book on joy—just two weeks from turning it into the publisher, when I received the diagnosis. I had been pursuing and activating joy in my life in the relatively good times, now I had to do it in the midst of darkness, depression, and torturous pain. Through the process, I’ve discovered the breadth, depth, and power of joy—that despite hundreds of sermons and many decades in the church—no one had told me of before.

FBWJ BookIn Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, you really push the reader to reevaluate their definition of joy. Why do you think this is so important?

Much of the teaching I’ve heard on joy over the years is oversimplified. I remember those days in Sunday school learning that JOY is spelled Jesus, Others, Yourself. While that made perfect sense at 9 years old, I’ve seen how distorted that can become as an adult.

I see friends who love Jesus but spend so much time pouring into their kids, grandkids and others that their joy looks something like this: jOy.

Technically, it still spells joy, but more than anything, these men and women who are so exhausted, so empty, so running on fumes from pouring into others need to pause and take time to focus on themselves. Laying hold of joy right now will require them to reevaluate for a season and discover the joy that comes with JYo.

I also noticed how most of the definitions of joy define it more by what it isn’t than by what it is. I constantly heard that happiness is based on circumstance but joy is not dependent on circumstance.

Biblical expressions of joy turn out to be far different than what I had been taught. I am now convinced the writers of the Bible would say that, the reason we have joy is because we have great circumstances. If you are a child of God, you are drenched in the grace and mercy of God.

No matter what you’re facing: Your circumstances are better than you think.

If you’re not experiencing joy, perhaps it’s because your definition of joy is too narrow.

On a scale of 1-10, how hard was it for you to write this book and Bible study?

An eleven! This journey has been the most painful experience of my life. And, to share about it requires some vulnerability. Okay, a lot of vulnerability. And, that’s really, really hard. But I feel like I’m finally ready to share what God has stirred in my heart along the way because although cancer has been the most painful journey—it has also been the most joyful. And no one is more surprised than I am.

Pick up a copy of Fight Back With Joy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble today.

 

 

No More Hell To Pay

I’ve been a huge Stryper fan since 1985.  I walked into a bookstore in Macon, GA and saw a display with their Yellow and Black Attack album.  I picked up the cassette and headed back to Cochran, GA (Middle Georgia College).  The entire drive back to the dorm I was in heaven as I listened to their sound for the first time!  Later that week a friend in the dorm (who was not a Christian) came to me to ask if I had ever heard of a band called Stryper as he handed me a copy of Spin Magazine with a feature article on the band.

That was the first time I shared the Gospel with someone because of Stryper’s music.  In the years to come, I would share Jesus with others my age and younger through the band.  I recall one summer going to Panama City Beach, FL with a few extra cassettes (Soldier’s on Command) on hand to give away as I met other teens.  One of the high points was watching Stryper (In God We Trust) at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA.  Michael Sweet directed everyone’s attention to the stars in the ceiling of the building and began to talk about God’s creation.  There was a couple next to me that both began to break down and cry as Michael talked about God.  I began praying for them.  At the end of the concert I spoke with them and prayed with them before we left.

Fast-forward…. I saw Stryper a few years ago in Atlanta with several friends.  As we hit I-75 I asked, “Who would have ever thought we would be going to see Stryper in our 40’s riding in a mini van?”  Ha!  The next tour through Atlanta I will have my 11 year old son with me too! 🙂

Well, Stryper is releasing another studio album!  It is expected to release on November 5.  Their first video from the album has already been released, “No More Hell to Pay”.

Stop Signs

stop-sign

Some may look at this sign and do exactly what it says every-time.  Some may see this sign and think it really doesn’t mean stop at this intersection.  Then there are those who may think that this only means STOP if there are other cars coming or if the Police are watching.

So, what do you do?  Do you stop, slow down, or ignore this sign.

This morning I’m reading Exodus 28.  As I read, I am recognizing how detail-oriented God is.  Now, when He says to use “purple thread” on the Ephod does that mean purple or a violet… it could mean some other shade of blue.  I guess you may use whatever color you deem appropriate if you are one that doesn’t stop at the stop sign.

God is a God of details.  He cares about the details of our lives.  He desires the best for each of us… no matter where we may find ourselves within our circumstances… He cares. 

The next time you are out driving and you see a sign that tells you what to do at the intersection, how fast you are to drive, or see on the pavement when and where you can change lanes – remember God cares about the details of your life.  Probably a whole lot more than the DOT who is responsible for putting up those signs and markings on the road.

Thanks to Darrell for the insight here…  Thanks for helping us make a memory too.  What do you think – does he stop, coast, or speed up?

Thoughts on today…

We have been attending Tapestry Church for the past month or so.  We have enjoyed the services and getting to know Richard.  Today and last Sunday there were not any services there.  I had decided not to go to church today and just spend some extra time reading and journaling this morning. 

I received a phone call yesterday from Valerie.  She wanted to go to church today.  So, I thought about where we might go today… I decided on Oakleaf.  Today Oakleaf started the year off with going to four services meeting in the Carmike Movie theatre.  It was a great service!  Joel was running the sound in the service I attended… (It was nice to hear The Choir’s “Sad Face” playing through the PA… a perk of running the sound is you get to pick the tunes).  I told him it was a bit loud this morning… but I was kidding!  The sound was awesome!  Will was leading worship with Dean ripping on that Fender of his.  (The Edge would be proud).

It was good to see many friends as well.  God is going some awesome things through Oakleaf.  There is a definite excitement in the air.  I was picking up Walker from the Children’s area and the person taking the security tag from me asked for my child’s name.  I said, “Walker.”  She went on to say, “Walker knows what his purpose in life is… He said it is to sing!” 

If she only knew the other half a dozen things he wants to be… they all involve wearing a costume with a cape.  I bet he may have some music in his future.  I’ve thought about buying him a drum set from DV… not sure if he still has it or not.  I do have a child’s guitar that I would like for him to start learning.  And for the past 2 years he has sung every song to Phantom of the Opera thousands of times!!  Literally.  At age 4 he knew all of the words to all of the songs!!!  I know whatever he sets his mind on he will succeed.  He has his favorite songs he likes to hear when he gets in the car:  “Marvelous Light” by Charlie Hall, “With Or Without You” by U2 and “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.

Thanks for a great day at Oakleaf and looking forward to Tapestry next week…

Thank you for my freedom!

This week I had a conversation with my friend who is a Chaplain in the U.S. Army.  I am so thankful for him and his family!  They are all beautiful and I am so thankful for their service to God and our Country!  I look forward to seeing them over Christmas before heading to their new Post.

Tonight I have been watching Ty Pennington’s Behind the Scenes of Extreme Home Makeover.  It’s a typical night of watching… I can’t help but cry.  Normally I can hold the tears back enough so no one can tell what’s going on… not tonight!

This Christmas look for opportunities you can serve others.  Maybe there is someone you know who serves in one of the branches of the military… how can you serve them this Christmas?  Sears has set up a way to do so if you don’t know someone personally… check it out here.

Harvest Community Church/Soul Rio Celebrates….

…it’s 10th Anniversary.

So much of my life has been shaped by the 5 years of my life spent at Harvest Community Church.  I moved to Albuquerque with my family in September 1999.  We arrived not knowing what God had in store for us.  No home… no job… no money… no money… just my good friend Jason who was leading worship at Harvest and let us crash at his house the first couple of nights.  It was a rough start for us but God blessed the ministry and my life tremendously through Dan Lewis (lead pastor), Jason Taylor, and Mike Goff. Thanks guys for taking me in!!

This video tells the story of Harvest Community Church now named Soul Rio.