Monday, October 19, 2009

Catalyst Atlanta!

On Your Mark, Get Set, God…

There were musicians heard, speakers quoted, thousands of people present, topics discussed, and leaders born. Though the event distilled down to darkened rooms, removable equipment, tired volunteers, abandoned notebooks, and full trashcans, an encounter of the heart still rages on. For me, it is not the event of Catalyst as much as it is the encounter with Christ that such a catalyst ushers in, leaving me changed and compelled in a new way about something “old”. As Francis Chan and Louie Giglio noted, there is no new edge or trend that can be spun on the reality of Jesus as the Mark. Even Solomon agreed that nothing new is under the sun, that no idea has been escaped. It is still to Him, through Him, for Him, and about Him. He is the Commencement, Catalyst, and Conclusion to all. He is the Mark. Rom 11:36

Atlanta Catalyst 2009 came and went, but the race ahead continues. “On Your Mark” was not only the theme for Catalyst but is the charge of God to the leaders and listeners in this generation. Are we listening to the Architect of our course? Are we leading to the Ascension of the Mark or mere men?

The Question: What and Where is your mark? The Answer: His power alive in your reality, accomplishing all that is now and to come. It still can’t get any simpler or more profound than Jesus. Encounter Jesus. Leader, follower, Husband, Wife, Mother, Father, Nobody, Celebrity; it boils down to who He is not who we are. It is not so much in leaving a mark as it is in knowing the Mark. It is not a new edgy idea or trendy style of communicating as much as it is meditating on the face and personhood of Jesus. It is His voice that sounded the “go gun” to begin. It is His character that is our baton. It is His pattern of history that is our course for the future. It is His face that is our Mark. Thank you to Louie, and others, that refreshed me with this reminder of Truth. It is Him, the express image of God’s person, Jesus. In His face, everything else grows dim and the Goal illuminates brighter giving stout meaning to all the duties, roles, ministries, tasks, investments, and dreams in between. The Word has spoken, the gun has sounded, the race has begun…So are you on course and if so where are you headed?

Growing up, as children, in PE classes all over the country, we heard the famous words, “On your mark, get so, GO!” Now as adults, not only has the coaches’ scream become a faint echo but so has the charge of our Creator. You see, He too is encouraging us, compelling us, and enabling us with the famous words-“On My Mark, Sarah, get ready, GO into all that is ahead of you.” However, the demands of ministry, the disasters of life, the disarray of activities begin to silence His voice and stunt our pace. Oh that we would be called back into intimacy as leaders. Oh that we would remain on course, but on the right course with the right Coach behind us and Collision ahead of us. A collision course with the face and heart of Jesus Christ, in the midst of all we do, is the acclaimed aim.

He has orchestrated a race to run with endurance, a goal (an upward calling) to reach with accomplished joy, and a navigation system through His Word, lighting the steps of our journey. What a refreshing reminder! As adults in life, may we assume the position of children in PE. Are you “on our Mark”? Are you prepped, ready, in position, and available to RUN the race, reaching the destination that is gleaming in your eye? Even better yet, as leaders, what is the destination that is glistening in our eye? What is beckoning us to Run, to Go, to Race onward? Well, I along with others, venture to say that before you can be on your Mark, you must know to that which you run. Where you are running to must first be answered before your runner’s stance can be assumed. I was yet again challenged, called, and confirmed forward through Catalyst this year. Compelled forward through this race called life into the collision of His face with mine. In my suite, worship rung loud from my heart, words typed quickly through my fingers, and the tears streamed as I sensed Him placing me “on mark” again. Humorously, as the recesses in my soul are moved, civic center patrons are also moved to loudly refill the ice buckets and distractingly crumple bags of chips into the trash. Hilarious. Spiritual moments always happen in the normalcy of life, don’t they?

Back to my flow, He is a good Leader, Coach, and Running Partner. So as Song of Solomon put it in chapter 1, He called me into His chambers last week that we might run together. Thank you to Catalyst for being a catalyst to His chambers that I might run the course with endurance not sprint speed.

Maybe the many nuggets I learned and randomly jotted below will help all of us “Get ready, Get set, Go, not only on our mark but to our Mark!

Stay your Mark and keep running…

- Focused intensity over time multiplies by God’s effort causes unstoppable momentum that changes everything! (Dave Ramsey)
- Immaturity is revealed in our heart when God beckons us to obedience and we delay, question, analyze, or move with haste in the opposite direction. Therefore, I am fixing my eyes on the Author of, the Finisher in, and the Intercessor for my faith!
- Confess, repent, fight, believe, mature... Listen to God and tune into our hearts.... DO what He says not what YOU want. With this done we can RUN the race set before us!!!! The unique race has begun.... can you run it? Is sin entangling? Throw it off by faith and RUN... confess, repent, receive, believe, mature, Run. Heb 12
-GOD IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO AS HE ALWAYS DOES.... and we are invited to the unfolding. (Matt Chandler)
- Lay aside the entanglements that easily hinder for in confession and repentance there is LIFE and Freedom! In quietness and rest is confident strength. Is 30:15
-Lay Aside, cease striving, and run YOUR race.
- Are we ready and willing to live and DIE by faith? There is crucifixion and resurrection in the Christian life. Heb 11:29- BY Faith... they conquered... BY Faith!!! By faith...though they were sawn in two, they were persecuted, they were tortured.... BY Faith we now live not sight or guarantee.
- Nehemiah 4:13-14 It is not about what you are building but who you are becoming. Amen!
-Lean into the mission of fortifying those around you. As leaders, encourage parents to parent, marriages to stay together, and families to be connected. (Tony Dungy)
-As leaders, don’t build empires, become enablers.
- Have we been so easily seduced by the more, the better, the bigger that we have lost the very experience of what we proclaim??!!! CLEANSE me lord from busyness with stillness. Free me from activity by an increase of intimacy with you. Is the current pace of life sustainable? If it is not... than silence, still, and stagnate longer! BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.
- The fall fractured it all, but Christ's death and life revived.
- John 6. Sometimes the crowd thins yet deepens at the same time...For then The Few rise High. So the crowd thins and deepens but also the crowd thickens and runs the risk of “shallowing”. Luke 21
- We are the living crucifixion Friday that breathes and embodies the resurrection Sunday to all watching! Don’t just take the Eucharist, Be it. (Rob Bell)
- WHEN WE OBEY GOD TRULY, WE WILL NOT COVET ANYONE ELSE'S LIFE.....the first 9 “laws”, when kept in heart, make the 10th commandment a reward! “YOU WILL NOT COVET” when you are in the center of His vision... Amen
- We acknowledge that the bush is always burning and the sandals are always off for the ground is always and presently holy.... For He is in us! Col 1:27
-"The gospel is to be more promoted and cultivated as a garden by a Gardner than it is a relic glassed in painting protected by a guard".... (Shane Hipps) Have we protected it so much that we have stop promoting it in the context we live?
-"God of glory, voice of thunder, split the cedars, bring us under on the shadows of your wings you give us strength, you give us peace..." (Zach Williams)
- If I "win", I win and if I loose I "win".... what a freedom to have in Christ... that His story always wins!
-“God is fully responsible for a life wholly devoted to Him.” (Charles Stanley)
- Living to make my mark is too small a thing to give my life too.
-It is not being in authority but under authority! His AUTHORity.
- It is not so much about the mark I leave but the fact I AM Marked. You have marked me, Lord leverage me now for Your mark. Josh 5:13
- So do you trust Him to leave His mark with the only mark you leave as believing Him?
-"Great men make and leave the world better...leadership is the forward motion to ensure that happening." (Andy Stanley)
-Narrow my focus, hone my energy, captivate my mind, guard my emotions, margin my time, feed my soul that I might lead them…
-Let me experience the same encounter I present.
-Yield to His interruptions and you will be surprisingly victorious. Disappointments are HIS appointments
-Josh 3 advises five things in leadership: After getting direction, act intentionally, act immediately, act fearlessly, acknowledge His presence, and anticipate His movement. Eph 3:20
-Fear rises but faith always flies higher.
-Shop in your own storehouses of treasure, for surely in this earthen vessels there is already a Treasure to treasure not obtain.
-Leading is actually following. Everyone is a leader because everyone is following something. What are you following and where are you leading?
-“Your life is shaped by the end you live for; You are made in the image of what you desire.” (Thomas Merton)
-Heaven is the face of God.
-How often do we look at His hand and miss His face?
-My soul was not made for lesser beauty than the face of Jesus. Drawing life from His smile.
-Forgive me that the frowns of others mean more to me than the smile of You.
-You cannot become unless you behold. Col 3 When Christ is revealed to you then you will be revealed in Him.
-Do we consider Christ a loss worthy of gaining everything else or do we consider everything less loss at the gain of having Christ?
-Leadership is not about getting a head, but looking at the Head we have. (Louie Giglio) Colossians 1
-It is more about internalizing Him than memorizing about Him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Puzzling Peace!

Life is made up of pieces that create a whole pictured mosaic. But it is in those mosaic pieces that we can not only lose sight of the Picture but of the Person crafting those pieces with a purpose. Oh may we not stare at the "random" pieces of mix matched colors, circumstances, and changes. However, may we gaze deep into Peace not at the piece. The Word says He Himself is our peace. Eph 2:14 I cherish that peace is not an emotional state that is rocked as a ship by storm swells or silent streams, but that PEACE is a breathing living Person looking upon me, as He crafts and orders my pieces. Our pieces are held. Our pieces are not random. Our pieces are making a whole artistic expression of Christ Likeness. For just as it pleased the Father to "crush" the Son in Is 53, so does it please Him to permit pieces in our life. It is those pieces that can usher in either a horizontal perspective away from Him and onto the puzzling piece or vertical perspective that can propel our perspective upward. He is in control. He is Peace in the piece. Life may be puzzling and pieced a part without wholeness sometimes, but we can invite our gaze upward into His sovereign pattern and know that He Himself is our Peace. Our pieces are patterned. Our pieces are planned. Our God is our Peace in the pieces. So then therefore in the midst of pieces truly we can say, " I am not anxious about anything for in everything I present my request and my puzzlement to Him in gratitude, knowing that His peace, His person-hood, transcends my understanding of these pieces. I rest in His peace not my piece. Phil 4:5-6

More to come...


Saturday, October 10, 2009


Compelled to write, so that I will do. Rev 21:5 "WRITE, for these words are faithful and true". He has been faithful to me today and true to me anyway. I have no sensible title or logic at the moment, but I have compulsion and communication running through me stemming from circumstances today. Praise God we do not live by our circumstances though we are in them. Actually, we are not in them either, we are IN Christ. Maybe circumstances are more like windows rather than doors. Windows into NEEDING Him more and being found in Him deeper instead of opening up life to me. Circumstances do not open up or shut down anything... they simply give me a window into who I am in Him and who is in me. Freedom! So today despite circumstances, I live by compulsion not control. I live with convictions not complacency, I live in Christ not in my conscience, I live for communion with Him not for community with others first. Though community is important, it is a by product and a gift of true communion with Christ Jesus.

This is the Man who compels me and does so even now as I sense these words flowing from my fingertips presently:

I am not in control of what will be nor in contemplation of what was once. I am in comfort for WHO is. He is. He is what is all to me. JESUS. I am comforted that YOUR ARE the Mark, the journey, and the bumps in between. Oh! You walk with me through fire in life, ice of heart, and rain in seasons. You walk with me, with Your Rod and Staff, YOU comfort and conform me anyway. Thank You that YOU ARE is not a game. YOU ARE not an imagination. YOU ARE not a religion. YOU ARE not an easily labeled, formulaic law that is defined simply as a disposable addition or subtraction to Life... Jesus. You are Life. Thank You that You are incorruptible when all else corrupts. Thank You that You cleanse where dirt is present. Thank You that create where the black hole is... out of nothing You bring everything into existence under submission. Thank You that You clarify what is murky and You change what is incorrect. You claim back what the enemy meant to steal, kill, and destroy. You cut chains of bondage making them bracelets of freedom. You work. You move. You heal. You speak. You lead. You live. You give. You remove. You. You. You. I believe YOU ARE. YOU ARE more than enough for me.

YOU ARE in my circumstances though not defined by them. You give and remove though You are beyond that transaction. For You ARE, simply is period. I behold You. YOU ARE the I AM beholding ME TOO. I love You.

My heart is full... my music is on... so Truth floods in. I was compelled to write...but even more so driven to believe that HE IS the I AM that YOU ARE needing and that I AM loving.... Thanks for reading the entry... though this was more for me than any. I love and need Jesus Christ with every ounce in each circumstance as I cling tight and caravan forward to His face as my Mark.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweetness in Starlight

“I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel. My heart instructs me in the night seasons.” Ps. 16:7

I lay here, in rest and recovery from external inflicted injuries on my knees tonight, but am amazed at the mirror it is to my internal wounded spirit currently. Physical surgeries seem to mimic and motion that of heart surgeries lately. He is sweet to depict things for me visibly. The Grand Healer touched my torn temple and the Grand Weaver stroked my desperate soul simultaneously this evening. A sleepy wound was just aroused in my heart through my mind’s eye view. “Accidently” seen and entertained pictures of his happiness sparked buried memories that reminded me of my lack, stealing my joy almost in a second. Viewing pictures of my past love and his present one sends my heart into haunting nostalgia. These identical cries again remind me of my longing and the gaping hole he left behind. Why me? My finger is empty and my heart is porous. She wears what I once did and has what I once had.

However, rebuking lie and demanding truth in the inner parts, I lifted my eyes though they were heavy. I longed to destroy every speculation that raised itself against the knowledge of You and our union. Though I shed familiar tears last night, He wiped them away with familiar Hands. I knew He heard me. My prayer was “Rescue me from the pending questions and “what ifs” I so easily ask, for they are merely wasteful speculations that accomplish nothing but theft. They steal all that I know to be true.” So I begged and pleaded all in a moment’s notice for Him to take captivate my thoughts on truth in obedience to Himself. “Destroy all that rises against You, against us, my God. Put my mind in prison to you that it might know freedom from him”, I internally screamed. At those crossroads of “remember when” or “praising now”, I turned to Jesus in Praise, anyway. With little spirituality and no magic phrasing, I simply called upon the only name I knew, asking for revelation in power, in prose, and in presence. Not only did I call, but I opened all that I have ever known as a vault of safety and balm, the Word. Then to my devotional books, which have become a refuge to me in ache, I escaped.

This is the small account of His response to my impulsive reaction. He has a way of turning my winter into spring with one word in one minute. He could and can take the empty tomb of love and roll away the stone, raising it from the dead. Only He can make a beautiful picture out of my broken pieces. “My love story is the hinge on which my ministry will turn”- famous quote at age16 that has marked this 10 year journey thus far. Little did I know the stringent prophecy that innocent proclamation embodied. Neither this hinge would I have secured or this story would I have written. But, It is a story without a conclusion as of yet… it is one with continuation still. It seems to be a continuation of the same theme… But God! Those two words usher in a semi-comfort… But God responded.

In this state of semi-comfort, the head phones went in and my heart escaped upward to the music that sung over me. He quieted me with His love. Jason Upton’s words soothed me and sent me high above my chair. “Call to Me, My beloved, come up here to Me…” Then my mind recalled a previous Word spoken to me through I Pet 5:9-10. This verse beautifully haunted me again from the summer of 2005 when tears were first bottled over this love loss. Here I am four years later… so the same and oh so different. “Perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish” after suffering for a little while is the premise. My “WHILE” seems longer than a little, but I trust you now in the midst of heart ache and brokenness knowing that You are the Grand Weaver. You have penned and woven this. I looked up to my Lord. ‘Please kindle this suffering of a broken heart and ending love into that of a flame that it might perfect me through love, confirm in love, strengthen me for love, and establish me to love.’ LOVE! That theme, oh that theme! It is the signature that is signed on every scar and every crown I bare. It has brought such defeat yet victory in my life. Another song rang into my ears at that moment “I was made to love and be loved by You.” Wow! How perfectly timed He spoke and sung to me. His word came alive again “… for the Lord will be your everlasting light and the days of your mourning will be ended.” Another translation said “your God will be your beauty… the days of your mourning will be finished”. YES!

That word, Finished [Shalam] meaning to be whole, sound, safe, to be complete, and to be restored. It is an attitude of the heart with the principal meaning of completion and fulfillment. It is the desirable state of wholeness in which relationships ( of love) are restored. WOW! That was my groaning. He said it better than I could. ‘Thank you for interceding for and through me with words beyond my own comprehension through that of Your Word’. I claimed that Word and Hope and Promise. I clung tight to Him! As you read this, cling tight even now while He might be found. Wherever you are in your thought life, cling tight to the confidence that you have in Him. My mind then wondered from pity to pastures as I thought on Ps 23. The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not want. He restores/finishes my soul!

The night season with Him was coming to an end, for sleep was creeping upon me, when I read Ez. 34:16 “ I will seek what was lost (companionship) and bring back what was driven away (marital love), bind up the broken (the body) and strengthen what was sick (my faith).” I claimed that promise over every area parenthetically. He is the Grand Weaver, not a Waster. He does not waste but recycles all wounds of death into wombs of life. My tomb became a womb last night and hope was resurrected for what I again believe by faith through the act of Praise. Numbers 21:17 “Spring up O well, sing unto it”. Praise is the gateway to blessing despite feeling or sight. Praise unleashes faith! I praised Him anyway. I praised Him for that him and that union excluding me. I praised Him for my coming him and that I was not taken. With ache but genuine praise, I appreciated not being chosen or given away YET. The only Him in my life rode into the room for certain rescue! Praise never loses its savory affect on pain. It sweetens it in the stillness of starlight. Praise still opens fountains in the desert of barrenness. The Barren land of Longing was and will be turned into fields of Fruited Harvest because of the Living waters rushing through her. Rivers of blessing have flowed throughout this entire life and story of mine. I must dig deep into my abandoned but awakened heart and find the river flowing beneath. A river of faithfulness and hope and plans beyond that of my own making rush fast by me as I recount the Truth! “No eye has seen or ear heard all that You have in store, laid up for me, who love You.” My shovel to dig down into the depths of my shaking heart is that of Praise! I thanked Him anyway. Trails are blessings in disguise.

The lullaby hushing me to sleep was, “Sarah, are you willing and daring to praise Me in advance for the things that have not yet come and for the things that have passed? You have been passed over not passed by. Praise Me now for your faceless nameless but existing husband. Praise Me now for the previous and present journey, for it IS GOING SOMEWHERE. Praise Me that there are no “dead ends” where I drive. All can be and will be resurrected. Praise Me in the sweetness of this starlight tonight! When I was with my Daddy my innocence was restored and only sweetness lingered in every gaping but closing hole.

For truly He instructed me in the night season and laid me to rest with speculations crucified and hopes resurrected…
Thank you for my physical ailments that paved the way for my spiritual alignments tonight!

There is a divine imagination, give it wings for its needing aviation.
Every little hope I’m holding inside, in Him tonight I sweetly confide.
In my eye He has given a gleam, for He’s birthed my dream.
Before seeds become fruit there was planted vision. The planting now beckons the shower of His wisdom.
I’ve waited, I’ve prayed, I’ve dreamed up to the sky, now my soul begins to fly…
My dark season’s night is met now with His sweetness in starlight.
He’ll tear down the walls, walk where I cannot, roll away the stones, and untie every painful knot.
I know the dream will fly with wings beyond imagination for He is the fueling aviation.
Listening to His voice, sparks ignite; letting Him remove my weakness, replacing it with might.
My dark season’s night is met now with His sweetness in starlight.
Now my spirit is lifted high, for the gleam has returned in my eye.
My soul ascends on the wings of our dream and begins to fly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Catalyst: something that causes an important event to happen...

Well in LA this last week at the first ever WEST COAST CATALYST! It was a something that caused an important event to happen. A catalyst for hope, movement, change, and risky passion in me for the future ahead of me. I was honored to share a row with excitable women that desire God! We truly did sense His presence, His truth, and His guidance. The speakers were incredible, the company was rich, and lessons were learned! I sat much and now am soaking often in all that was taught. I am feasting still! Taste and See that the Lord is good! I am tasting little bites of Him as I sift through so much activity in my heart and life currently.God has a way of engaging us in the story He is unfolding. He engaged me 10 years ago by calling my name at ONEDAY. He engaged 5 years ago through breaking my name through ONE man. He engaged me 2 years ago with ONE long sitting in His word for 5 months in Austria. He engaged me 1 year ago to leave a job and journey towards a passion. He engaged me yet again a matter of days ago as I marinated in the Catalyst Conference.

So much momentum, so many thoughts, a myriad of dreams, and a mighty God in front of me. Thank you Catalyst for being just that- something that caused and still is causing an important event to take place in my heart, through my life, and for my future!

Here are the nibbles from the LA Feast:

-Retreat back to the vision in times of uncertainty in order to never let uncertain times rival clear vision. God- grant me Your clear vision despite uncertainty.

-Be more interested in God developing you than man discovering you. Lord I pray for you to continue to develop me in this journey of life and guard from the illusion of being “ discovered” by man or ministry.

-Hedge of protection is around us! You tube Tim Hawkins... Hilarious!

-John 6- the spirit brings life and the flesh accomplishes nothing. Apart from YOUR SPIRIT Lord I can do nothing, know nothing, and be nothing. I wasreminded of what passionately and simply LOVING Jesus looks like as we abide in and on His Spirit for everything!

-Divert Daily; Withdraw Weekly, Abandon Annually. Oh what an escape LA was for me! May we all never be too busy to divert, withdraw, and abandon unto our King in the midst of life's noise…

-Leave everything behind in order to gain everything ahead! Pressing on, MOVING forward to the upward CALL of God in Christ Jesus on my Life. Sometimes God puts us in prison to truly set us free!

-Come along side of others and enable their visions and dreams- yours will explode as a by-product! Awaken many and remain eyes wide open to look for opportunities to be a catalyst of other people’s dreams. This is my desire and my destiny- to awaken and accomplish the dreams of many women!

-EZ 37- One of my favorite passages of scripture in the Old Test!!!!! Breathe your Breath Oh God on all that seems like dry bones… YOU can do this! He who is able to do beyond what I can ask...Eph 3:20

-Being a LINE 3 believer- move past benefiting from the gospel through contributing in the gospel to sacrificing for the gospel!!! Knowing Christ, not about Him, is the Gospel of Good news that shods our feet with Peace…

-Movement forward engages God. The levitical priests tip toed into the River Jordan before the raging waters moved.

-The Church is not safe but dangerous- or at least it should be a dangerous movement of people who actually believe who He is and what He says! Our message is one of power and a sound mind not tossed by this Life's definitions of Christianity or Church.

-Faith is Full Assurance in the Heart and Fear is false evidence appearing real. God replace our fear with faith- the evidence and substance of things unseen yet so realized in hope that we can taste those things!

-Let a hundred flowers blossom around you! Be a blessing to those intended and to those ignored...Be ready to be used by Many and poured out for many-known and unknown. -Do not compare to yourself or think highly of yourself.

-Look in the mirrior of life and see only CHRIST, not failure or success.-Be leary of accepting fault for failures because that would assume your responsibility for successes. It is only in and through Christ that life unfolds or unravels.

Your life is now hidden in Christ! Col 3