Thursday, November 7, 2013

HUGE Church-Wide Yard Sale!

M28 is having a Yard Sale!!! This coming Saturday, November 9, 2013 we are having a Church-Wide Yard Sale to raise money for our Spring Break conference - Anthem. We need your help! We can't have a yard sale without donations of if you have anything in your attic, basement, closets or garage (or anywhere else) come drop it off Thursday 9-5 or any time Friday at 6400 Prosperity Church Rd. Charlotte, 28269. Then come shop on Saturday from 6am-12pm!!! Can't wait to see you all!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Passion 2013, Session 2

Day two of Passion 2013 and once again, worship beforehand was intense and powerful and from the first song we could all tell that the Spirit of God was there with us, which is seriously the most incredible feeling that I've ever known.

Beth Moore was our speaker for the second session of Passion. It didn't really register to me why she picked the subject she did until the end of her message, but when it all tied together, I thought it was amazing and powerful. When Beth started her talk, she began by making statements that really registered with me; and going back now and listening to it again, it seems twice as insightful. She told us that scripture study had just as much to do with participation as worship does, that its about leaning into the word and living it. I realized that I should have just as much withdrawal from lack of bible studies that I have for lack of worship.

She asked us what we believed would happen if we were all so set aflame for the word of God that for the rest of our lives, we can't get enough of it because if we have the kind of passion we have for worship and we put it together with a love for God's word, there would be no restraining the potential of this generation. We have to protect our love and passion for both worship and scripture study.

Matthew 26:17-30 was the scripture for that morning's message: the last supper. We actually got to see and understand what actually took place at the table. We went beyond bread and wine, beyond ritual. We dove into the significance behind everything that had taken place and it was truly incredible. It was the first step into the new covenant with God. To be able to truly appreciate and understand the importance of communion, we have to start with the 3,500 year old ritual feast of the Jewish Passover, the Seder. It's extremely specific in the steps taken during the three hour meals and the order in which everything is done in accordance with the Jewish law set forth from the time of Moses. The things that absolutely had to be on the table were unleavened bread, the roasted lamb, bitter herbs (or horseradish) that serves a key point in the story, parsley (symbolizing rebirth in springtime) dipped in salt water (symbolizing the parting of the Red Sea), and of course wine.

At the start of the night, Jesus would have poured wine into His cup, then into everyone else's. He would have stood up and said a specific opening blessing over that night's meal. The wine represented the covering of the blood. For them it would have been a reference to the lamb's blood over the doorways of the Israelites for salvation from the plagues of the deaths of their firstborn sons. For us, the wine symbolizes the covering of our sins by Jesus' blood. Jesus and His disciples would have raised and drank from the cup four times. Exodus 6:6-7 tells us the meaning that coincides with each cup. Beth had us repeat back the meanings a few times to ingrain their importance in our heads.

  • Cup 1 was the promise that God will bring us out. 
  • Cup 2 was the promise that He will deliver us from slavery. 
  • Cup 3 was the promise of redemption. 
  • Cup 4 was the promise that God will take us as His people. 
Cup number one has been referred to as the cup of sanctification, so after that cup would be the hand washing ceremony. This was the point in the last supper where things started taking a different turn. Instead of washing the disciples hands, he started washing their feet. At this point, a question would be asked by the youngest male at the table concerning the meaning of the Passover and the second cup would have been poured, but not sipped. To answer the questions, an antiphony, or a statement/ response conversation would happen to tell the story. The Hebrew phrase, Dayenu, would have been the response to each statement, meaning "It would have been enough". Had he brought us out of Egypt, but not executed judgement against our enemies… had he given us their possessions and not divided the sea for us… had he divided the sea for us but not brought us through it on dry land… had he sustained us in the wilderness 40 years and not fed us with mana… had he fed us with manna but not given us the Sabbath… had he given us the Sabbath but not brought us to mount Sinai… had he brought us to mount Sinai but not given us the Torah… had he given us the Torah and not brought us into the land of Israel… had he brought us into the land of Israel and not built the temple for us... Imagine the theme of that night through Jesus' eyes, knowing that all of those things would not have been enough. Had He performed miracles that made the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk, had He cast out demons and raised the dead, had He been scorned, mocked, and bruised, but not bled one drop, it would not have been enough for our salvation.

They would then read/sing Psalm 113-118 in antiphony and the second cup would be sipped. At this point, they would all be eating, but they wouldn't have come to the heart of the meal yet. This is when Jesus says to them that he will be betrayed, as they partake of the bitter herbs. These herbs were meant to burn your sinuses and bring tears to your eyes. This symbolized acting out the bitterness of slavery and the women who had lost their firstborn sons. This is where they would get to the main part of the meal, the roasted lamb. The interesting part of this specific Passover dinner was that there was a lamb on the table and the lamb of God at the table. Jesus understood the significance of this meal more than anyone because He was about to fulfill it completely.

Next, Jesus holds out the third cup, the cup of redemption, as stated in Luke 22:20.
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."  
After this he dramatically breaks the unleavened bread and tell them that it's His body, symbolizing the way His body would be broken for them. Then, instead of adding wine to everyone's cups, as was the ritual, Jesus had them all drink out of his cup. In Exodus 24:8, the blood is sprinkled over the people as the first covenant. To symbolize the new covenant, the wine (Jesus' blood) was offered to them, but they still had to decide to take it. In the garden, Jesus is praying for this cup to pass from him. This is not a metaphor, as I had always thought it was. When we go through trials and ask God to let these cups pass from us, the only way He will leave the cup in our hands is if it is absolutely crucial to what we are doing on this planet for His mission. This cup could not pass from Jesus.

Lastly, Jesus gets to the fourth cup, also referred to as the cup of the in gathering. This one symbolizes God taking us as His people, which is why it was significant when Jesus says that He will not partake of it again until He drinks it new with us in Heaven. This is fulfilled in Revelation 19, at the wedding supper of the lamb. They then sing Psalm 118 together.
Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad 
This particularly significant because Jesus knows that He is heading straight toward His arrest and execution. He knows that by that time the next day, He'd be put to death. All of history had been leading to this moment. So verse 24 was especially meaningful, remarkable really. Knowing all that was coming and blood mixed with sweat pouring from His body, He says "This is the day the Lord has made, we are going to rejoice and we will be glad in it". We don't just have good news in the gospel, we have glad news. Good is a condition, glad is an emotion. Glad means that we have gotten it, that we have realized the significance of what He has done for us. What would happen if when somebody asked you how you were, you told them that you're glad? "I'm good" is a conversation stopper, "I'm glad" could lead to a conversation about the gospel.

We should be glad because we are no longer accountable for the things we could not bear to be under, that God saved us from them. The blood that was shed on the cross was God saying, "It is enough". And because it is enough, He is enough. Our pasts don't have to be our futures God's mercies are new every morning The enemy will fall. Everything works together for our good. We have not out sinned Christ's ability to redeem us. There is a world coming with no more bad news or death. These are some of the things I'm glad about. Psalm 126:3 says The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. The gospel is glad news, the best news that a broken world and a dying generation will ever hear. The hype of this message cannot die out after Passion, as Beth Moore pointed in her message, it's too important, it's too life altering not to proclaim, too urgent to play it safe with. This world needs Christ now.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Passion 2013: Session 1 - Can These Bones Live?

So I'm finally getting around to posting about Passion 2013. I know, I know...6 months is a bit long to wait for posts but being an intern is a very life-consuming job! It's been fun reading through my Passion notes again and being freshly challenged by scripture. (These posts are going to be a little long...I have a lot of notes from other parts of the conference/family groups)

Being at Passion this year exceeded my expectations in every way. Last year when I was watching from home, it felt like my heart was exploding from all that God was doing 247 miles away. Being there this year...I don't even know if I can put into words what it was like to be there. Just being there with 60,000 other college kids who are completely sold out for God was enough to bring tears into my eyes as I stood outside in the rain waiting to enter the Dome. I will never forget the sight of the Georgia Dome filling to the brim with believers...I'll never forget the sound of 60,000 voices lifting up the name of Jesus in worship...I'll never forget my family group...I'll never forget the silent walk or the candlelight service or the sound of 60,000 people shouting for freedom...those days will forever be imprinted on my mind as a day when I saw and felt God move in ways that I never have before. 

I wrote in my notebook (yep taking notes before it actually started...typical) "It's an army here." It's such a true the middle of this crowd of 60,000 people, I've never felt smaller...but at the same time it was so encouraging to be able to see and know that I'm not the only one...that there are a ton of people just like generation is here and we still love God and we want to make his name known in this world.

To start the conference off, Louie came and gave us a few facts...there were more people in attendance at Passion than there were at the Chick-fil-A Bowl(!!!) and there were 54 countries and 2022 universities represented in the Dome(!!!). We were also told that because of our generous donations of towels and socks last year, the homeless shelters in Atlanta donated 10,000 towels and 60,000 pairs of socks to Hurricane Sandy Relief because they knew we were coming back this year with more. Things have barely gotten under way this year and we'd already made a difference. 

Then, we were asked to get into triangles...groups of 3 people...and pray together. We spent time praising God, praying for God to be present among us, and for freedom and justice. We prayed that walls would be torn down, that people would hear the roar and know that Jesus is coming. What a roar too...worship was absolutely mind-blowing. Yes, it was loud...but when you have 60,000 people all singing at the top of their's gonna be loud...and I wouldn't have expected any less. Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Kari Jobe + more led worship each night...what is so amazing about these people is that they weren't concerned with performing or "doing it right"...they were concerned with worshiping God. I can't tell you how cool it was to see them back away from the microphone or dance around or just stand there and listen during worship. I am so grateful for men and women out there who are more concerned with God than anything else. 

Louie Giglio brought the first message of Passion. He opened by saying that we believe in the God who does immeasurably more...not just a little bit more but immeasurably more. More than we could ever ask or imagine...even when we can't see immeasurably more in our lives...he's still done immeasurably more and he will continue to do immeasurably more. God wants to do immeasurably more in and through your life than you could ever ask or imagine. All he wants you to do is go. 

He isn't just the God of immeasurably more during a conference but he is the God of immeasurably more in the context of your life. When we are foolish, God intervenes. This is very much what happened in Ezekiel. God intervened in the lives of his people who had been scattered into captivity by their own foolishness. We aren't thrust into captivity (spiritual, physical, mental or any other type of darkness and captivity) by someone else's decisions or actions...we fall into captivity by our own doing.  We are more foolish than we want to admit. It's easy to resign yourself into captivity...sometimes it just seems bigger than you can handle...depression, sin, circumstances...I understand...believe me. There are times when you walk into church and you just feel so out of place because you are bound up inside. When you are in captivity, when the darkness is consuming, it's because you've forgotten who God is. You've allowed your foolishness to get in the way of the truth about God. But there is hope in this...whatever has its grip on you is no match for the God of immeasurably more. He always intervenes...he always sends a voice into the captivity you are in. 

Ezekiel 36:24-27 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
God sends a voice, he comes and he breathes on people who are made of stone. He gives us his living, beating, breathing heart in place of our dirty, rotten, dead, stone hearts. He wants to bring us back and cleanse us from our idols! He doesn't want us to be stuck in captivity anymore. 
Ezekiel 37:1-2 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.
God brings Ezekiel to this valley where the ground is littered with bones. For us, the valley is the low place, the darkness and the downside of life. This valley was a literal valley...a literal valley filled with real bones. Not new bones...dry bones...brittle bones. "Dry" is when we are parched, desperate, desolate, weary, hungry. It means that death has come...and the after effects of death have come...when everything returns to dust. 
Ezekiel 37:3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”
How's that for a question? Can these bones live? Seems kind of obvious...but God makes us think...he asks us questions to test our understanding of his sovereignty and power. Ezekiel's answer is right on point...only you know God...only you. God doesn't want us to figure it out ourselves...he wants to teach us something. He's not looking for our answer...he's looking for us to realize that we can't come up with an answer and that he's the only one who has the answer! We cannot solve any problem, rescue ourselves from captivity, come clean from addiction, be cleansed of sins, or raise ourselves from the dead on our own power...only God. You have to trust and believe that he knows the answer!
Mark 9:14-18 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 
This little boy is in captivity. His father has come begging and pleading for the disciples to cast the demon out of his child but they are not able.
Mark 9:19-20 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 
I love Jesus' response to this situation. I always imagined him rolling his eyes and "Are you serious right now? I can't believe you still don't get it!" I know that's not the case because that would be impatience and Jesus was I'm quite certain it didn't happen that way. But the thing to truly notice here is that the demon attacked the boy as soon as he saw Jesus. The demon knows he's going to lose as soon as he sees Jesus but he tries one last attack.

How many times have you ever felt called to do something or called to go somewhere or on your way to a conference or church...some place where you were going to meet with God...and it seemed like everything was going wrong and the sky was falling on top of your world caving in? Satan will do everything in his finite little powers to try to stop you from meeting with God and from obeying his calling on your life. Satan spins chaos into our lives when we see Jesus. But here is the good news...things can be going absolutely crazy...but Jesus can focus in that doesn't matter what is going on, Jesus is still laser focused into your world. God wins. 

Mark 9:21-24 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
There is no "if" with God. There has never been and will never be any "if" with God. He can do whatever the immeasurably more happens to be in your circumstance. The father's response is perfect..."I believe; help my unbelief!" That is the perfect prayer. I do believe you can do immeasurably more but help me in the areas that I don't believe it! Pray it...daily! God loves that prayer!!! He wants to hear our honesty in saying I believe with 1% of me but help the 99% of me that doesn't believe you! He can work with that!
Mark 9:25-27 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
He lifted the boy to his feet. That is the immeasurably more of the story. Look back to Ezekiel
Ezekiel 37:4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel knows the power of God. (Ezekiel 1:25-28) God is bigger than you could ever dream and he is coming here...saying to you "do you believe that I can do immeasurably more in your life and in your generation?!" Our only response should be "Oh, sovereign Lord, only you know. Help my unbelief."
Ezekiel 37:5-6 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
God did 4 things...he spoke his word to the bones, he breathed into the bones and caused them to live, he put tendons and ligaments back where they had been and covered them with skin. For us that means that we are to speak truth and life and scripture into our lives...into our darkness. It means that God heals what is broken in our lives...we can't count him out because he can do it! And when it's all over, we'll know. We'll know that whatever happened inside of you could not be done by any will know that He is the Lord and he has made you alive again in the midst of all the rubble and darkness. God is alive! Let your prayer become this: "I'm in the valley of dry bones - speak to me, breathe in me, reconnect all that has been broken and make me live again!"

The best news is...God has already done immeasurably more...he sent his son. Jesus is here to free you from bondage! He breaks chains and tears down walls! He gives freedom to the captives and life to the dead! Don't forget that sin didn't make us makes us dead. DEAD. But Jesus, and only Jesus, makes us alive again! Hear the voice from heaven that is intervening into the foolishness, darkness, captivity and death. Pray with honesty...ask for help with whatever part of you that doesn't believe. He can make your bones live again. He can make your dreams live again. He can make your heart live again. He can heal you of your wounds. He can rescue you from addiction and slavery and sin. He can restore your memories. He can. The same God who conquered the grave dwells in you. Speak Lord, the valley of dry bones is listening now.

What a start to Passion 2013. God had exceeded my expectations the split second I walked into the Dome. That's all it took. Even better than that, he continued to blow my mind minute by minute for the rest of Passion...and even more than that, he's still continuing to do immeasurably more right now in my life. I love that Louie said we didn't go to Passion to huddle up in a circle, we went so that we could explode back into the world sacrificing whatever needs to be sacrificed in order to spread the Gospel. I love that there are 60,000 people out there praying this "I believe you can do immeasurably more through me. Give me eyes to see the immeasurably more you want to do through me." I love that Andy Stanley came to Passion and prayed over us. I love that we, as a generation of young people have the ability and the opportunity to start the End It Movement to raise awareness about modern day slavery. God is working...God is moving...God is speaking. Are you listening?

I also have to share about community groups...ORANGE CG all the way! (We love you Freddy T!) Every morning and every evening, Passion broke down into "small" groups of about 5000 people called community groups. Each of those groups broke down into groups of 8 people...called family groups. Each group would spend time talking about the message, helping each other process what we'd heard, and praying for one another. My family group was the absolute best. I couldn't have asked for better people to spend Passion with.
Zachary, Casey, Me, Maddie, Cassidy, Emily, Jason and Charity. 

Passion 2013, Session 1

I feel like I could spend forever thinking about what exactly to say about my experience this year at Passion 21013 and probably a longer time writing it out. So in the interest of saving time and keeping my words unrehearsed, I'm just going to keep typing and pray that God will give me the right words to adequately convey how incredible it was.

Being one person in a sea of 60,000 people was the most humbling and exhilarating experience of my life. There was so much power in the thought of so many people driven both together and out toward the world with the purpose of glorifying and magnifying God and fighting for His purpose of bringing freedom and hope to a dark world. 60,000 of us stood as one, proclaiming the majesty of God and praying for revival and it was beyond words. Worship in the Dome was a force I'd never encountered before. There truly is something about thousands of voices praising God with one voice and it only grew in intensity when the worship leaders stepped away from their microphones and stopped playing their instruments. Worship really was all about God and we were continually coming to Him and thirsting for more of Him and that was incredibly powerful. And I must admit that even now, six months after Passion 2013, I'm still having bouts of worship withdrawal, especially as I sit here listening to the Passion music and thinking of just how great worship was.

My favorite experience from Passion 2013 happened on the last night of the conference hours before we even entered the Dome. There was a group of 20+ students who barely even knew each other in the World Congress Center. We were just worshiping. Someone had a guitar and someone was at a piano, another person was drumming on a ledge and we were all just playing and singing along to different worship songs, some that we'd been singing throughout the conference, others that were from the year before. It was a very simple, but very powerful act of worship that continued to grow as more people joined in. It was so honest and pure, but just as intense as a main worship session. I really wished at the time that Louie could have seen it because it was too powerful and spontaneous. It was just just a beautiful overflow of loving God. Passion was truly a raw, beautiful picture of what our lives are to look like, pouring all of our means, words, and actions, pouring our whole selves, into the worship and the mission of Christ.

Louie Giglio really set the tone of Passion 2013 with this first message. He told us that Passion is about speaking out and bringing freedom because of the spirit of God showing up. It's not about 60,000 college students coming and staying in a nice little Christian bubble; it's about 60,000 Christian college students exploding out into the dark world of the spiritually dead and praying that God would breathe life into all the peoples of the Earth. God wants to do immeasurably more in our lives and in this generation than we can ever imagine.

The story that we focused on throughout the conference was the story of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones. I had heard this story in Sunday school before, but had never sat down and thought about the intensity or the meaning behind story before coming to Passion. I'm extremely glad that the valley of dry bones was chosen as the focus and I believe it's one of the most poignant examples of the Gospel in the entire Bible.

We actually started off a little before the story of the dry bones. We began in Ezekiel 36:24. This passage takes place while God's people are in captivity in Egypt. They are worshiping Egyptian idols and doing these really evil things to each other. God is pretty fed up with it, yet decides to rescue His people and give them another chance. But Ezekiel 36:24-32 says:

For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel.
God saved His people who were spiritually dead, and breathed into them new lives and new hearts and lead them as a perfect shepherd. When we get into captivity (sin patterns, idolatry, or messy circumstances), it is because of our foolishness in forgetting who God is and who we are in Him. In this passage, God intervenes and into the mess, Emmanuel comes. And this is where we picked up in Ezekiel 37:1-3:
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
God showed Ezekiel a low, dark place with dry, desolate bones. There was absolutely no hope for life or joy there. It was a picture of physical death and spiritual death is the same way. Even if we don't outright see it's effects, we all know what it feels like to be hopeless, depressed, and spiritually dead to everything around us because we've all been there at some point in our lives. I'm talking about the disintegration of the soul, the point where the body has no fight left. This is the picture of hopelessness that Ezekiel 37 is essentially painting for us. It's where we were all walking at some point, spiritually, without Christ. Then God asks Ezekiel an interesting and kind of loaded question in verse 3. God asks whether or not the bones could live again, basically asking whether God could do anything, or if there are limitations to His power and ability to move and work through any situation. But God is not really asking us if He CAN do immeasurably more than we think He can, He is waiting for us to believe that He WILL.

In Mark 9:14-26, Jesus heals a boy that was possessed by a demon after all the disciples had tried and failed to heal him. It shows Jesus as someone extremely focused on God's power even in the midst of all the craziness that had to have been going on around Him in order to rescue the boy. He has that same focus with each one of our lives. Verses 23 and 24 of this story are interesting though, because the boy's father is actually questioning whether or not Jesus can heal his son. Jesus responds to him by saying that "Everything is possible for one who believes". The man then immediately tells Jesus that he does believe and asks Him to help his unbelief. Satan has a tendency to make last ditch efforts and throw the worst negativity and situations at us to prevent us from going and doing things to spread the gospel mission or prevent us from being in certain places, like Passion, where he knows that we will be in the midst of God's presence. He uses doubt to accomplish this a lot. This passage shows us that it doesn't matter that we may only have 1% of belief, God is still able and willing to work with the other 99% of us. It would be great for our prayer lives to say "God, I believe, help my unbelief". How much of a difference could that make in the way we live our day to day lives if God helped us to believe 100% that He can and will do immeasurably more than we could ever dream?

Looking back at Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel was basically saying to God, "Only you know if these bones can live, but help my unbelief". Louie then told us that during Passion 2013, we were going to be praying for four major things. We'd be praying for God's word to come to us, that it would bring us to life, that it wold repair us, and that God would restore our knowledge and belief the He is God and He can do all things.

God wants to heal something and bring life to something that no one else can do in us. God brings freedom to the captives of the Earth and He definitely brought it about in the four days of Passion 2013. I believe wholeheartedly that the millions of dried up bones in the valley of darkness in our 21st century world are going to see and walk and live again in our generation. There is going to be life breathed in to the spiritually dead and God will awakening and bring back souls to Him as only He can do. This is the mission given to us as Christ's followers, to proclaim and live out freedom and hope, to bring the message of God, who can and will do immeasurably more, into a lost and broken generation and to watch and take part in what God does through it next. Intervening into the foolishness came a voice and the valley of dry bones is listening now.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hello, My Name is Martha

I've probably subconsciously known this about myself for a long time...and I'm sure others have known this about me for even longer...but I finally realized something. I'm Martha.

If you're not familiar with the story, check out Luke 10: 38-42.
'Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."'
I remember reading this story as a kid and thinking how silly Martha was...I mean the LORD was in her HOUSE! I remember thinking she was nuts for being concerned with chores when Jesus was sitting in her living room...I mean come on, who wouldn't be at the feet of Jesus listening to his every word? Well...Martha...she wanted everything to be perfect and go according to plan. Jesus' visit to her home should have been a welcome event rather than a disturbance for her day. How often do you willingly let Jesus interrupt your day? How often does your to-do list speak louder than what Jesus might be trying to speak to you? If you're anything like me...and Martha...the to-do list sometimes overshadows the "good portion".

I often think...what would I do if Jesus were to come waltzing into my house...into my room and pull up a chair and just sit and talk? To be perfectly first thought is room is a mess...I wouldn't want him to see my room like this...He probably couldn't even find a chair to sit on in this disaster area...I need to clean really quickly...and somehow do the laundry and make something for Him to eat. I'm guessing this is probably something similar to what Martha might have thought when Jesus visited her. Instead of soaking up everything He could possibly offer me...I'd be too busy. That's not what He wants.

Jesus cares about our hearts...not if your dirty clothes are in the middle of the floor and your bed is made(I'm not saying that you don't have to clean and do your excuses). He wants us to slow down...stop for a minute...give Him our undivided attention and just listen. I bet life would be so much better if I could just learn to stop once in a while. I'm typically stressed and  I worry about everything...scheduling and planning and money and transportation and the dog and my roommate and my Granny and my mom and dad and laundry and painting the bathroom(summer project), and M28 and how to best reach out to people and if I'm doing a good job or if I'm just failing miserably. I get angry at people when things don't happen the way I thought they were going to happen(my roommate gets the brunt of this a lot). I even make sure to fill up every moment of the day so that I don't have time to stop. This is a Martha heart not a Mary heart.

I don't want to be like Martha. I don't want to miss out on the chance of a lifetime...a moment of my Savior's wisdom just because I'm more concerned with going somewhere or getting something done. I want to be like to just stop and sit and listen whenever He speaks to me. I want to soak up every moment with Him...forget about everything on my to-do list and let the worry and stress disappear so that I can truly hear and receive what He is trying to give me. It was a really good reminder stop constantly worrying about everything that needs to be done and take time to focus on what God's trying to say to me. He knows my heart isn't a Mary heart and somehow he still loves me and finds ways to speak to me even when I won't slow down and shut up. God works everything to His plan...not our plan. We don't have to worry because He is in control and He will tell us exactly what we need to hear. Don't forget to stop and listen even during the busiest of days...he's always there...waiting for you to come sit at his feet. Mary had it right all along...she chose the good portion...she chose Jesus.

Friday, June 7, 2013

END IT Movement :: Millions Have Heard

We did it. I can't believe it. I am in awe. I really should say God did it. He helped us show up to this. I had no idea it was this big. I had no idea that a little red X on my hand could make such a difference in this world. I am just disbelief really. Emily and I were in that crowd shouting for freedom, we wore red X's on our hands for months. I had no idea it would reach the news...CNN...Times Square...but it did. We made a difference. We raised a shout. People heard us. How great is our God!? We can't stop there...end it movement is over but we can't stop there. We have to keep partnering with IJM, A21, Love 146, Made In a Free World, Free The Slaves, Not For Sale and Polaris Project...we can't just sit back and relax now that people are aware. If you are in it to end it, you have to be all in. We're still in it to end it...are you?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Thank you to all those who have served and gave their lives to keep me, my freedom, and my country safe. 
I will never forget your sacrifice. 
Thank you. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

In the aftermath...

The other night, I began thinking about all the things that have happened in my lifetime...President Bush (dad), President Clinton, President Bush (son), President Obama, Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Oklahoma City Bombing, OJ Simpson trial, Olympic Park Bombing in Atlanta, Columbine, 9/11, Anthrax attacks, Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricane Katrina, Virginia Tech Massacre, Northern Illinois Shooting, Fort Hood Shooting, Amish School Shooting, Aurora Shooting, Hurricane Sandy, Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, and now the Boston Marathon Bombing. I haven't been alive very long...almost 22 years is not a long time when you think about it...but it really shocked me to look at this list and realize that all this (and more) has happened within my short lifetime.

 I never really know how to feel when something like this happens. It's definitely puts me on the edge...I try and fail many times to comprehend how a human can mentally desire and physically carry out such a heinous act of violence...Sometimes I get really angry at the people who do these things...Sometimes I just want to cry...but I try to find peace in the fact that even though I don't understand, God's got it under control...sometimes, it's all of the above...but mostly I guess I just don't know what to think. Maybe you're feeling the same way...

Two things really struck me last night...M28 was in the middle of worship, we were singing one of my favorite songs - "Build Your Kingdom Here" by Rend Collective Experiment and as we were singing I just kind of fell to my knees overwhelmed by the words I was singing. Take a second to read over these lyrics and really pray them.

Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we're made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your Church
We need Your power
In us

We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You're our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt; the sick; the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray revive
This Earth

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

Unleash Your kingdom's power
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope 
On Earth

I just began to cry and pray this over and over and over again. In the aftermath of all that has happened in the last few days, it's easy to get wrapped up in all of the darkness happening around us...but in this darkness is the time when our light shines the most. This is my desire...that God would build his kingdom here on Earth...that there is no denying his presence on this planet...that we can rise up in this aftermath and nothing will stop us. Yes there will always be evil and darkness in this world...but it's our job to GO and make share the gospel wherever we are. You never know when your last day will be...(not to make you fearful) someone could walk into Starbucks or your office or your classroom today or tomorrow and start shooting...are you ready for eternity? Are the people around you, the people you love and care for...are they ready for eternity?

John 16:32b-33 - "Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." 
Like I said earlier...there will always be people who hurt other people...there will always be scary and evil things that happen...but we have hope! We have a Father who has overcome all of it!!!!! He has conquered it all!!! What joy! What hope! What peace!

So in this aftermath...find your peace in the one who has overcome the world, pray that God would build his kingdom here, and go spread the gospel like wildfire. Continue to pray for Boston...for the injured and the families who lost loved ones...for those who were there...and the ones who weren't. Pray for us as a nation...this event brought us all together. Pray for this world.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, 
look full in his wonderful face, 
and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, 
in the light of his glory and grace!

Monday, January 28, 2013


M28 is having a yardsale!!! 

Go through your closets, garages, attics, and basements...we are taking donations from far and wide. Anything and everything!!! We are trying to raise scholarship money to help students attend our spring break retreat: Anthem! 

It's never too early to start going through your stuff and setting it aside. We will be accepting donations at CrossWay Community Church the week leading up to the yardsale on February 2.

If you don't have anything to donate, then make sure you stop by Feb 2 and check out everything we've got!! It's always a huge turn out and we always have awesome things. Everything from clothes to books, movies, furniture, baby items, decor and last year we even had 2 kitchen sinks!! So make sure to get there early!!!

If you are or know of a college age person who would be interested in accompanying M28 to Florida for spring break March 3-8, please email me.

Mission28 Charlotte is the college outreach ministry of Crossway Community Church to the campus of UNCC. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ on our campus. For more info on us visit

Monday, January 21, 2013

What have I been doing lately? It's obviously not blogging...

I feel like I have been writing these "I'm sorry, we've been so busy" posts more often than not. It really is true though! I promise I'm not just sitting around watching Netflix. I actually worked 62 hours last week! Doing what? you might ask. Well...since you asked so nicely, I'm going to post the letters I've been sending out...

Hey! Hope you’re doing well! Anyway, Just wanted to write and share that this next semester, I have the opportunity to serve as an intern for M28, the college outreach ministry of CrossWay Community Church (CWCC) to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). I am writing this to ask you to pray for me and consider supporting me financially as I give the next few months to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ on campus.
 M28 exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ on the campus of UNCC. We believe that a disciple is a person who has responded to the Gospel and given their life to Know Christ, Follow Christ within the community of the local church, and Proclaim Christ in the culture around them. Our mission to make disciples is accomplished through a weekly campus-wide meeting every Thursday; bi-weekly discipleship groups within the context of the local church; weekly evangelistic open discussions in the dorms; and an annual Spring break conference, as well as numerous outreach oriented events throughout the school year.
 During my time at CPCC I was a part of M28 and I’ve been a part of CWCC for most of my life. Through the past few years, I’ve watched Christ transform lives through this ministry, calling people from the bondage of sin to follow Him. Over the past 4-5 years I have been heavily involved in M28 and it is my joy and privilege to now serve this ministry full time. As an intern I will be required to work 50 hrs. a week and will officially be employed by CWCC. Interning with M28 will enable me to evangelize lost students through personal relationships, see new and young believers established in their walk, and see committed students equipped for the mission of making disciples. I will also help with planning, administrating and leading our outreach meetings and events. This coming spring semester, I must raise $5,000 for my salary. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with M28 as you help support me financially in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the campus of UNCC? Whether you are able to invest a one-time gift or a monthly pledge of $10, $25, $50, $100, or any other amount, your support will enable me to put my full attention on serving as an intern. All checks should be made payable and mailed to “Crossway Community Church” with [Intern Support Fund – Chelsey Miracle] in the memo to receive the proper tax deduction. Please note that CWCC has full discretion over all monies that go into their Intern Support Fund. If you desire to support me, please fill out the attached support slip and mail it to Crossway. Thank you so much for prayerfully considering this partnership. I am in great need of your prayers this coming semester. Pray for strength, wisdom, discernment and boldness for me, and that the Lord will use M28 for His Glory! Also pray for the students on campus as we seek to reach out and share with them. I look forward to speaking with you soon and answering any questions that you may have. For more information on M28, visit
 Thank you in advance for your prayers!
How cool is that? I get to share the gospel for a living!! I'm super excited about it! Admin-wise, I'm in charge of communications, basically that means that I make sure everyone knows what is going on each week through Facebook, Twitter, and making sure all the people in charge are on the same page too. I communicate with UNCC a lot and this past week I got to write a letter that they sent out to all the students who are interested in campus ministries. It's been a lot of admin work so far but I like that kind of stuff so it's been fun. I wrote an update letter on the 12th that says:
Dear Friends and Family,
 So much has happened since I wrote you last! It honestly seems like forever ago that I sat down to send out all of those letters. I hope you guys are all doing well! Hard to know where to start…even though it’s only the 12th, it’s been 12 of the busiest days of my life! The first 4 days of January, I was at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia called Passion. 60,000 college age(18-26) kids all gathered together over these 4 days to worship together, learn together, and most importantly to raise awareness about human trafficking and modern day slavery. Currently there are 27 million slaves around the world and together we raised over $3 million to put an end to slavery. We helped fund 19 causes that work to rescue and restore people who are enslaved and to prevent kids from becoming trapped in the cycle. We also helped launch the End It Movement…a 4 month campaign to raise awareness across the world. If you’re interested in more information check out and you can sign the petition to end slavery.
 The rest of the week was spent listening to amazing teachers such as John Piper, Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, and Beth Moore. I couldn’t even begin to describe all that I learned…but I did walk away with 46 pages of notes!!! I think my favorite thing was Family Groups…we broke down into community groups of about 4000-6000 people and then broke down into groups of 8 people called family groups. The 8 of us spent every morning and evening together talking and praying…it was humbling and encouraging and I didn’t know that you could grow so close to a group of people in just a few short days. Worship was absolutely amazing as well! Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Lecrae, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, David Crowder and so many more did a fantastic job leading us in worship. I will never forget the roar of 60,000 voices. Anyway, the first week of intern life is drawing to a close! The other interns and I have done so much this week it’s crazy! Justin, Turner, Wesley, Aly and I have all been hard at work to plan opening events as well as working hard on our upcoming spring break trip- to Florida. We started off on Wednesday with our Hot Chocolate booths. Pretty simple, we handed out hot chocolate and invited people to our Coffee House event the next day. We got to hang out with some students that afternoon as well. Thursday, Aly and I cleaned the intern office from top to bottom, Wes fixed the ceiling tiles, Turner made an awesome sign, and Juice(Justin…don’t ask why we call him Juice…I don’t really know but no one calls him Justin)…well…he was our entertainment. Our Coffee House was amazing! We had SO many people that came and hung out with us. We had free food and drinks (coffee among other things), games and fantastic music. I met a bunch of new people!! I spent a lot of time with 2 girls: Jasmine and Dominique this week. We met both of them at the Coffee House and they are both really sweet and want to get involved. Jasmine said she is going to try to come to our spring break trip and Dominique wants to start meeting one on one with me every week.
 Community Groups and Big Meetings start up this week! It’s going to be a great semester and students are going to hear the gospel afresh throughout the next few weeks. We’re also gearing up for our spring break trip called Anthem! It’s been so much fun trying to plan games and food and even try to figure out how big a room is based on how tall a guy on a ladder is (yes, we could have called the place but that is way too easy).
 It sounds like a ton of admin and planning…and it is…but it’s really about the people….reaching out and getting to know people. Over the next 15 weeks of the semester, I’m really looking forward to meeting even more people and developing lasting relationships and growing together with the girls on campus.
 For me, God has definitely been working on my prayer life…and the depth of my study life. I feel like I’ve grown so much closer to God in the last few weeks and the semester has barely begun. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to challenge me on this year.
 There’s so much to get done and so much to pray for. I really want to ask you to be praying for each of us in the coming weeks. Pray for Jon as he pastors us, pray for the interns as we try to get everything done, pray for our community groups and big meetings that they would be successful in reaching people on campus, and overall just pray for the campus. We can’t do this without your faithful prayers!!! Also, thank you for supporting me thus far. I have currently raised $2,700 of my $5,000 salary, which leaves me only $2,300 left to raise for my full support. In these next few months, I am excited to see God provide as he has so faithfully in the past. Would you prayerfully consider giving to help me meet this goal? All checks should be made payable and mailed to “Crossway Community Church” with [Intern Support Fund – your name] in the memo to receive the proper tax deduction. Please note that CWCC has full discretion over all monies that go into their Intern Support Fund. If you desire to support me, please fill out the attached support slip and mail it to CrossWay. Thank you for partnering with me in sharing the gospel! 
So anyway, as you can's been a busy last few days. I'm still processing the messages from Passion and working on those to get them on here as soon as I can...I promise I'm working on them every spare little moment. Please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have about any of this, I'm more than willing to talk to you!! Be blessed! - Chelsey