Tag Archives: church

Where Am I?

Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

faith

Sure seems like decades since I last wrote a blog.  I could just blanket it with a response like “I have been busy” which is the truth, however, what am I really doing?

I have known since I was in kindergarten that I wanted to be a writer.  When I wrote my first poem at he age of 6 I fell in love with the freedom I had in writing.  As I grew up I found that I could tell others what was going in my life with words on paper which was easier than face to face communication.

Now here I am 38 years later with two published books and one at the editing process.  But what am I really doing?  I am still working full time as a restaurant manger and trying to fit my real passion into this whenever I can.  At the current moment let me be real with you as a reader and fellow human.

I feel worthless.  I feel like I have accomplished zip in my life thus far.  A week ago I was ready to just quit.  Why bother? The books are not selling.  I don’t have the time to blog or write the sequel to Addicted to An Addict.  Then the thoughts:  Am I really making an impact on people?  Do my words even make sense?  Am I actually helping anybody????

Then God stepped in.  In one Sunday night service.  In 8 minutes of my life, God spoke clearly.  We have a psalmist in our church who sings prophetic words over people and that Sunday night God used her to speak right to me.  God said not to fear writing the next book.  He said I would write things that I did not even now about and that it would cause controversy.  He told me not to give up.  To rejoice.  To write.

As I let these words simmer in my soul I kept hearing, “Make room for the anointing.”   These words always came up when I would argue with God about the time I had at hand.  Work. Photography. Writing. Blogging. Church.  Socializing.  The only thing I could hear in all of it was “Make room”.

So I am in the process of making room.  I believe in the Jeremiah 29:11 lifestyle that there is already a plan for my life and I just need to be obedient and listen for God before I move.  I have to come to this place where I just trust God completely and if He says “Make  Room for the Anointing” then that is what needs to happen in order for Jeremiah 29:11 to become a reality in my life.

Time for a schedule change and a  goal process to begin!!!

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Simple Enough

This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

1 John 4:16 MSG

peace

What is simple faith?  Even though it starts with the word “simple” it is in fact quite complicated at times yet only because we seem to make it that way.  In our busy lifestyles as life has us doing a million and one things at the same time, we find it hard sometimes to fit sharing Jesus into our over booked schedules.  Sure we go to church and we attend Sunday school class and maybe a Wednesday class to further our “education” of Christ, but do we take it anywhere else?

So often we leave Christ on that cross and we know that we are saved.  We know what He has done for us.  We know the impact His death made in our lives, yet we seem to want to keep Him all to ourselves sometimes.  There are so many hurting and dying people on this earth it would make any Christian’s head spin.  As a matter of fact it seems overwhelming many times.  So we try to give out our little tracts and leave nice notes for waitresses.  We give where there is a need.  We try to show Jesus to others through our gifts and actions.

My husband and I stepped out in faith in church along with several other people and we accepted the anointing of moving into that next step in our ministry.  I am not sure how anyone else felt, but I know I experienced an intense love form the Father.  I felt pulled closer to His side than ever before.  As my husband and I continue to seek God we are discovering that it is easier to share Jesus in the simple things.  Everywhere we go we just talk to people and take the time to maybe just say hi.

When it comes to sharing Jesus with others we just have to go at it with the insight that everyone deserves a chance to meet Jesus and if they say no, remember it is not you that they are rejecting but rather they are rejecting Jesus for their lives.  We have to keep pressing into God for wisdom and strength so that we can continue to move forward for His Kingdom.  We all have a plan and a purpose for our lives and God may have it that you bring one person to Christ or ten thousand.  You might be the one person who introduces Jesus to the next Billy Graham or you might speak in front of thousands of people yourself.

Witnessing for Jesus is a life long process.  We need to just live a simple lifestyle which displays Jesus to every walk of life.  If we preach it, we have to practice it.  If we share the Word of God, we have to believe it ourselves.  We have found that more and more people are just drawn to the Jesus in us and we really don’t have to do much, people just want that tangible presence of God that we carry within.  If you have accepted Jesus into your heart then you too carry the presence of God where ever you go.  Just be who you are in Christ and people will see Him, it’s as simple as that.

She said What?????!!!!

  

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
 
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So did you hear about the pastor who said this about grace? How bout that minister who just does marriages for first timers? Maybe you heard about the priest who has been visiting people in bars?  Did you hear about that church couple who have been fighting?  Can you believe that so and so are searching for a divorce lawyer?  Did you know that Mr. and Mrs. Busybodies are no longer attending that church?  Did you hear about that teen in youth group is pregnant and it’s by another teen student that goes to another church?  
 
Why does anything I mentioned in the first paragraph matter to us?  If I am correct the Bible clearly states that we are to love one another.  Why is that so tough? Probably because we are human.  Maybe because when we go through things and are set free we expect everyone else to have the same views.  Maybe we have this belief system that because we were set free from certain things that others should be able to also with no issues.  What we fail to recognize is that we all have come from different walks of life and some things which were easy for us to break away from may not be so easy for others.
 
Now clearly, there are some folks I would just like to drag right to Jesus’ feet and make them sit, but we all know that is not a reality in any situation.  We all have to find God in our own way.  We have to be the ones willing to be changed from the inside out.  With our free wills, we have to begin to allow God to cut us like that rough diamond and create in us a clean, precise image…one just like Jesus.
 
So what do we do when someone is speaking about another person?  Choose not to get involved.  Offer prayer as an option instead of standing in judgement.  Begin to show how God’s Word instructs us to love…no where does it say to speak ill of anyone.  I know it is really hard to separate ourselves from the world, yet if we are going to show the love of Christ to anyone then this is something we need to be able to do, love.  We at times seem to be incapable of loving others and this stems from being unloved in certain situations in our own lives.  
 
We have to go against everything within us sometimes and push to love.  Push aside pain.  Push aside distrust.  Push aside offenses.  I like the analogy I have heard about PUSH.  Pray Until Something Happens.  This is what we need to do in situations where we just don’t want to love.  This is what we need to do when rumors need stopping.  We just need to say, “Because God Says….”

Fire & Water Never Got Along So Well

 

Psalm 51:10 The Message (MSG)

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.

starting fires

Ever felt like you finally arrived at the top of the mountain you were facing?  Finally achieved a goal you had been striving towards?  Won a race?  Received an award?  I am feeling all of those things right now in this moment.  God says in Psalm 23 that He will fill our cups to overflow status!  He says He will turn all of our sorrow to joy!  He says He will turn ALL things to good!!!  I can tell you this is truth!!

God has done a number of things in my recent past.  Pulled me from a destructive marriage.  Kept me safe in several circumstances.  Restored my faith.  Given me new hope.  Promoted me higher than I could ever imagine.  What does this feel like?  Uncontainable, indescribable, incredible JOY!!!!!!

How did I get to the mountain top?  Surrender.  Surrender.  Surrender. and MORE Surrender.  Today alone this is what happened in my tiny little speck of a life:  I submitted book two to be published, figured out how to start my first book on Kindle, received TWO checks at work, and I obeyed God and started a dance group at church and people actually showed up.  Eight other people to be exact.

Yup!  All that in one day.  I feel the most significant event was the dance group.  When I saw the vision to start this dance team, I of course argued with God.  Why are you picking me? I am the least coordinated person on earth?  Lord, you know I cannot rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time!  Want to know what His answer was:  I always choose the least to accomplish the most in my Kingdom.

This group of women to me are the firestarters who will enable the body of Christ to walk on water.  He chose a leader, a worshiper, got someone out of their box, a Zumba instructor, a cheerleader, a gymnast and a past color guard person to become The Revival Warriors.  Our first practice was awesome and I really look forward to praising God in the most intimate way with this group of women!

So what is the moral of the story?  Mountain top stories are based on surrender and obedience.  Would I have found such joy today if I hadn’t stepped out in faith and called these women to bind together in unity to lead the church to victory?  Probably not.  I encourage anyone reading this to choose surrender and obedience in whatever situation you are currently in.  God cannot take you to the top of the mountain if you do not choose to surrender….He would never drag anyone up the mountain.

Held Hostage

I recently ran across some old writings and I thought I would share some as I am busy trying to finish the 3rd book….Enjoy!

By Brenda Marie Czarniak on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 3:56pm

“Just take a look at Zion, will you? Centering our worship in festival feasts! Feast your eyes on Jerusalem, a quiet and permanent place to live. No more pulling up stakes and moving on, no more patched-together lean-tos. Instead, God! God majestic, God himself the place in a country of broad rivers and streams, But rivers blocked to invading ships, off-limits to predatory pirates. For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king. God runs this place and he’ll keep us safe.” Isaiah 33:22 MSG

heldhostage

Today church was just real.  Ever been in a service where you just knew God was there?  A moment in time where nothing seems to really make sense?  A feeling of a call to enter into what He has planned instead of the agenda in the bulletin?  A chance for the congregation to unite and become one living body to honor our God?  A slight glimpse of what is to come perhaps, a closer look at what God desires for us at a church gathering.

 

 

Today there was no sermon.  There was devotion.  There were announcements and worship was a gateway to the heavens.  Soon pastor was inviting the church to the altar and one thing led to another and we stood in love, singing songs, praying and wiping tears from our faces.  Wow, what a rush!  What a revival to the soul.  How humbling to the spirit that we could gather around the throne of God and worship, not worried about not receiving a word from a sermon.  God spoke in the tears.  He whispered how much He loves us in our ears.  He rendered our spoken words life!  He gave us scripture as He placed it into the pastor to speak.  God moved among us and we knew He was there.

 

 

I wish this happened more often.  Think of the pressure it would take off from the people who are responsible for Sunday  services.  If they would just come in and yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him run the ENTIRE show.  How much more healing could happen?  How much more free could God’s people become?  Getting lost in worship and leading the people of God right to the throne room where God could flood us with love and mercy.  Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with tradition and we need to be fed the Word, yet we need to be prepared to move in a different direction of God wants to do so.  We need to be open to the possibility that God does not want us to learn on a particular Sunday but to receive what He has for us simply by being obedient and surrendering.

 

I guess realizing God truly is in control makes more sense when a worship service goes like it did today.  I felt freedom.  I felt healing.  I saw peace show up.  I could sense a release happening as it swept through the congregation.  God is real and He wants to move among His people so that He may be seen and not just spoken about.  He longs for us to see Him in all His intended glory and if it takes moving the people out of there seats to stand at the altar for 45 minutes instead of listening to a sermon, then so be it.  God is God and that my friends is never going to change, what needs changing is our worldly views of what church is:  three songs, offertory, prayers, sermons and a dismissal.    Lately at my church even the Wednesday night services have been going late into the evening, being led by the Holy Spirit. Healing is taking place.  People are being changed and minds renewed with the right thinking of the things of God.

 

I pray your next service at church is taken hostage by the Holy Spirit and you begin to feel captured by what God wants to do.  Trust me you will come alive again with a renewed spirit.  I cannot convey in mere words the joy which is radiating in my heart from just coming from such a service.  God is not a boring God by no means, He spoke life therefore He desires to see life!  Dance before the Lord and make rejoicing noises, be free to sing and dance, after He created you for such a purpose!

Sleep Awake

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. 1 John 3:18 MSG

rest1

Get some rest!  Time for a nap!  Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.  Slow down, take a load off.  How many times do we hear these statements?  We read them in magazines.  Our doctors tell us every visit.  We see endless television programs on it. Rest seems overrated in today’s society.  Who actually has time for it with our busy schedules?

I recently was down with an upper-respiratory flu and all I could do was sleep.  I got sick on a Saturday morning and was down for 5 days.  I think it is the first time I actually listened to the doctor and did my time in bed rest.  I knew in my head that I had work to think about, I was missing church and a had husband who needed me, however I had to overlook those things and focus on me for a moment.

I went back to work on Thursday and worked 3 full days only to find myself on Sunday unable to attend church and slept until 4:30 in the afternoon.  I felt like I missed out on a whole day yet my body was telling me it was time to rest.  I actually despise that word…REST.  I just feel like I don’t have time.  I have to blog.  I have to write book #3.  I have a hubby wanting to spend time together.  Oh, and work. And taking care of my dad and keeping track of my kids and building relationships. Did I mention church 4 times a week?  I sound like a broken shell of a human sometimes, so what keeps me going?  Rest.

Ironic as it is, rest is what keeps all of us going.  Whether it be the 8 hours at night or the 20 minute nap.  The 30 minute walk.  The 30 minutes of listening to our favorite music.  The 1 hour of prayer.  Or the 15 minutes we have to spend worshiping God on the way to work.  We as humans who have a body, soul and mind needs a pause once in awhile before we burn out and become unworthy to even be seen with.

In these next three blogs I will take a look at rest, refresh and reflect.  The reason I get through any day of the week is God.  If I do not take at least some time during my day to worship or rest IN God, I won’t make it.  Generally my rest period is my drive to work.  That 15 minutes I get for me and God.  I can tell Him anything.  I sing as loud as I want.  I am free to be me and my soul craves that!  Taking time to rest requires re-planning on our part.  Sometimes we just don’t have time for 8 hours of sleeping or 20 minutes of napping and all we can do is take a moment to commune with God no matter how brief.  I take time in the shower, my drive to work, the quiet time right before falling asleep, in the middle of my day I break out in song or prayer in my head….I just interject God wherever I can.

This brief encounter with God can make or break my day.  Where does your rest come from?  Are you one of the lucky ones who gets 8 hours of sleep EVERY night?  Do you have time in your day to nap?  Whenever it is, I pray each of you reading this takes a good look at your relationship with God and ask this simple question:  Am I resting IN Him everyday?  If the answer is no, then what can be changed so that He becomes a part of your daily walk.  We can’t just have Jesus on Sunday and make it through our week in peace.

Going Out on a Limb

Matthew 28:16-20

The Message (MSG)

16-17 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

seedswhatever

What have we done lately that was extra ordinary to reach the lost?  I heard a most awesome sermon this weekend while visiting a church and something was said that just hit home…hard!  Our mission is not done until ALL of the sheep are located.  Wow!  So that means a church should not stop inviting people when the space in the pews gets sparse?  Um, we should still be asking friends to church every Sunday?  We shouldn’t stop sharing our testimonies?

I think sometimes we as Christians get it in our heads that we are saved and now we go to church as usual and we hope someone finds all the lost sheep before Jesus comes.  Let’s take a peek at the story of the lost sheep with a different eye.  Now mind you this is only my idea, not to be thought as ultimate truth.  The shepherd left the 99 (already saved) sheep to find the lost.  What do you think those sheep were thinking while the shepherd was gone?  “Man, hope they find him.”  “What’s for dinner?”  “Should we go help?” “What if the Shepard does not come back?”  

 

There are a million responses to this one plot, however, if the 99 represent the saved in the church, shouldn’t we have been the ones seeking the lost?  Just food for thought.  Our job as Christians is not to stop until all are found.  Don’t turn the church into a resort, let’s make them into healing and equipping stations.  Let’s go search for the lost and let the Shepard do the healing.  Let’s go out on every limb to bring people to know out Jesus.