• Don't settle for a touch when you can be immersed.

    Don't settle for a touch when you can be immersed.

Life in the Garden of Eden was unspoiled. I would venture to guess that it was easier there. Adam and Eve walked with God hand-in-hand. They daily saw the One in whom they believed. The garden was theirs to manage. Their innocence was openly rewarded and their faith was simple. Their spirit, soul, and body prospered completely. When sin entered the world, things changed. Adam and Eve were made to leave the pristine paradise they called home. Death and decay became reality. Their bodies felt the sting of this. Their souls knew grief, confusion, and disappointment for the first time. Their spirits were also affected by their fall. Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV) tells us, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart.” For the first time, Adam and Eve knew darkness.

In this fallen world, we are all born into darkness (Ephesians 6:12). We first know spiritual light when we meet Jesus. Our eternal address changes when we become believers. We are adopted as children of God. We inherit eternal life in His kingdom. We are redeemed from the curse of sin. God’s kingdom is not one of darkness. His is one of light. Jesus says, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46). The landscape of this earthly empire is far different from God’s kingdom. Things of earth are dim. Lines are blurred. Truth is muddied. In God’s kingdom, all things shine.

When we respond to God’s invitation to follow Him, it’s like putting on night vision goggles. We see more clearly. We understand more fully and we begin to feel the strong, inviting pull of truth. “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (1Thessalonians 5:5-6). Choosing God over the world is a wake-up call for our spirit. It awakens our inner person. It connects us to the kingdom of God. It gives us clear vision to see what once was veiled.

The ruler of this fallen world struggles to keep us in the darkness; to keep us asleep. He plots and he plans. He coerces and he deceives. It is vitally that we awake to truth; that we awake to our destiny. This world thinks in arrival. It considers only ways to get. It convinces us to think of ourselves. It throws at us everything that is contrary to God’s kingdom and offers false hope and empty promises to entice us. The landscape of God’s kingdom is not marked by castles or pots of gold, but by a life that the apostle Paul called an act of worship (Romans 12). To enter, we must wake up.

Taken from The Happiest Place on Earth as it is in Heaven, chapter 5.

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We can settle for a touch or we can be immersed. God will let us settle, but He has the whole fairy tale for us to discover. He will let us choose to forfeit the desires of our hearts, but if we seek Him first we get it all. Worshipping Jesus is the greatest thing we’ll ever do. It is the cure to boredom, the fix for insecurity, and the downfall of fear. It’s what makes us different. When we follow God, our whole life becomes worship to Him. When we choose to bring the Kingdom of God here on earth, worship transcends beyond voices singing notes and instruments playing chords and becomes the journey of our lives. When we embark on the adventure of such a life, community is no longer about offense, appreciation, or feelings, it becomes a group of fellow sojourners intent on one goal. It becomes the perfect place to be planted and to grow into all that God has for us.

Taken from The Happiest Place on Earth as it is in Heaven, chapter 4.

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Having church does not promise the kingdom. The kingdom is built by the church. We are custodians of it. It is our responsibility to bring it. One day, the kingdom of God will be fully established for all to see, but even now we are told to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The word kingdom means royal power, kingship, dominion, or rule. Bringing the kingdom means exercising the dominion that is given to us as believers. We are told, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). Bringing the kingdom here on earth is the manifestation of the unique quality of power that the church possesses. First Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” Could it be that the power that the church is missing is not just miraculous signs but a well-lived life of kingdom principles?

Taken from The Happiest Place on Earth as it is in Heaven, chapter 4.

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Authentic worship is the daily pursuit of Jesus. Our lives and the paths they take are the landscape of the kingdom, and it is marked by figurative steep hills, deep valleys, and rushing water. Our journey on the path of life is music to God’s ears. When we live holy and pleasing to Him, the kingdom follows us. It transforms the mundane and ordinary into the glorious and extraordinary. Scripture teaches that, “Blessed are those whose strength is in [God], who have set their hearts on pilgrimage” (Psalm 84:5). We can sing beautiful songs, say shallow prayers, and love only within our own power and all we have simply received is a touch of God’s presence. To live a life of worship is to pursue a life immersed in Him. It is a life that takes a journey, not just one that raises a hand of dedication out of emotion. Worship is what we are called to TODAY.


We will never be fully satisfied until our worship settles on God. He made all of mankind with an eternal compass that’s magnetic pull is God-worship. Fighting the gravitation of it is futile. It will not go away. All of life will be lived in resistance until we surrender. When the worship that is innate to us is not directed toward God, it will land on something. Often that something is what makes us feel good: academics, success, attention, beauty, riches, or comfort. So many times we give our worship away to unworthy recipients and frequently we are the primary benefactor. It is important that we protect our worship. if we leave ourselves unguarded, the enemy will steal our worship by directing it away from God. We must not bow to something that isn’t God…not to fear, insecurity, failure, acceptance, comfort, friends, our spouse, stuff, or self. Only God is deserving of our worship.

– Taken from the Happiest Place on Earth as it is in Heaven (Chapter 3)

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Could it be that all the fairy tales we grew up loving, all the epic love stories, and all the heroic battles have taken their inspiration from the story of the kingdom of God? God has been telling a fantastic love story, a great adventure, from before time began. The King of the world chose us, He came knocking, and He’s calling us toward Him. Have we grown up too much to see it anymore? Do we still stand in awe of it? Do we even believe?

I think what must be revived most of all in the church is our ability to think like a child…to believe like a child…to see like a child. Disneyland is called “The happiest place on earth.” It’s such a great slogan. I think it should be the description of the kingdom of God. This life will never bring perfect happiness, but in living with God’s kingdom in mind, we can find a truly happy place.

We are called to bring the kingdom here to earth. We do that through our spiritual act of worship…living life as unto Him every day. Oh, that we would never settle for a touch but be ever immersed in such a simple faith. May we bring the kingdom of God here and find in it the happiest place on earth as it is in heaven.

– Taken from the Happiest Place on Earth as it is in Heaven.

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The Happiest Place on Earth as it is in Heaven$10.oo

Could it be that all the fairy-tales we grew up loving, all the epic love stories, & all the heroic battles have taken their inspiration from the story of the kingdom of God? We glimpse the almost magic-like power of His kingdom in the smile of a baby; the smell after the rain. It’s there in the holy moments of old love & in the promise of hope found in a new friend. A life of worship brings that kingdom here to earth every day… in the miraculous as well as the mundane. Jesus is standing at the door & inviting us on the greatest of adventures. When we embrace the childlike wonder of the kingdom of God, we can find a truly happy place in every season of life.

 




The Greatest Story Ever Told

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All money collected from the sale of this children’s book goes to Hope House in Haiti. Hope House is an orphanage ran like a large family. In one of the poorest countries, they are some of the richest people I’ve ever met. They also run a free school of over 600 students, feeding each child daily, and a farm that’s aim is sustainability.

 




I would lose sleep at night if one of my children thought I had overlooked them. So, to prove mommy has no favorites, I must write a blog about Paige. It makes me glad to do so.
I so enjoy my children. I think enjoying them is one of the sweetest parts of parenting. I enjoy who they are, how they’re different, and how they are alike. A natural result of having these sweet babies is the overwhelming thrust to protect them…from everything. It’s important that we don’t enjoy or protect our children at the expense of their training into the mature Believers they are meant to be. I’m learning that God does no less with us, His beloved sons and daughters. He lets maturity have its perfect work in us. In the end we find the completion of this work is worth the difficulty of the journey.

My children are each so different, as all kids are. Megan has always been my grown up, or so she thinks. Hope has never gone gently into any night, or day for that matter, but Paige likes to take her time. She was my smallest baby but she had the loudest cry. She’s great strength in a small package.

Paige is my steady, consistent little girl. She is often the soil in which Hope finds her fun and creativity. She is like glue that holds things together, the kind that dries clear and most never knew it was there. But Sherman knows because he’d be lost without her care. She is my dreamer that supplies her baby sister with new games and fresh tales. Having them share a room was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve gone by their door at night and heard Paige telling Hope stories or singing songs to help her fall asleep. She seems to have an inexhaustible amount of ideas.
Paige is my sweet, constant reminder that I was God’s idea. He imagined me and I came to be. He is writing a uniquely crafted story with my life, and He’s dreaming out loud on every page. All the little and unseen things are like thread weaved together to make a brilliant collaboration of nonfiction. He is never in short resource of adventure and romance. I know…because I’ve lived these many chapters. This is my story.

The idea of being God’s story sparks my interest because I love to read. I’ve never sought out a good book with the sole purpose of getting to the end, because it’s about the journey. I understand this in literature. I know this and yet some days I get distracted trying to get somewhere when the reality is I’m already there, on the page of this day. God has let me learn this lesson in many hard ways. I think He wants it to stick because it’s that important.

There is a power in today that we forfeit when we live for tomorrow.

Lord God, You are enough on the page of today. Take as much time as You want. Dream, create, imagine. I’ll wait here until You’re done. For where else could I go when You have the very words of life.

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I’ve had a difficult week for reasons too many to tell and some too deeply seated to even put into words. A byproduct of my life’s calling, one I couldn’t forsake any more than I could refuse air in my lungs, is a constant awareness of depravity. I love what I do. Trying to do anything else would be equivalent to removing the blood that flows through my body. It’s part of my very existence; attached to me in ways that cannot be severed. It always has been. I see it as I look back, even into my childhood.

This unnerving awareness of things wrong is one of the reasons I’m so passionate about what I do, but still there are days…weeks….years it weighs heavy. I believe it’s the same for us all, in every vocation and in the sheer gravity of this human condition of ours. Deep in our hearts, I think we all know there is something waring against us…an enemy of everything good and right. That enemy wants us to feel alone in this. He wants us to suffer in silence, refusing help from those that could if we’d let them.

In the midst of much inner wrestling, God sent me several sweet gifts this week. The recent time change got the better of me and added to my struggle. Before bed last night I desperately asked God to reset me. I awoke this morning to a few blessings that did just that. One of those resets came at the hand of my first born. Thank You, Jesus, for the little victories. Thank You for the help.

She probably looks the most like me but has some the most unlike me characteristics. This is probably why we often go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round about everything. But if I’m digging deep and being honest, it might be the parts of her that are like me that further continue the cycle. If that young lady has taught me anything, it’s that together is better. God is romancing us and when we respond, we never have to be alone. Not only does He show up when we do, He’s also placed us in a big family…His family. We just have to embrace it and accept the help.

The principles of God are unstoppable. They are like the laws of gravity or inertia, like two plus two always resulting in four. They will do what they are meant to do. When we yield to their power, beautiful things happen. The body of Christ is such a mighty force that so many neglect. It does what it’s created to do when we allow it. It strengthens us, sharpens us, changes us, lifts us higher, and protects us from deception. Today, I am so thankful for those that God has placed in my life. They make me better. Together really is better.

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