Saturday, December 20, 2014

We Won't Be Shaken

“Whatever will come our way, through fire or pouring rain, we won’t be shaken. No we won’t be shaken. Whatever tomorrow brings, together we’ll rise and sing that we won’t be shaken… We will trust in You, we will not be moved.” –Building 429 (“We Won’t Be Shaken”)

In my last post I talked about how Heritage Christian, the school where I serve as athletic director, was preparing to host the Montana Christian Athletic Association State Soccer and Volleyball Tournament, October 23-25.  The theme verse for the tournament was Psalm 115:1, “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness.”  God most certainly got the glory for the weekend through a series of events that still leave me in awe of how faithful He is a midst circumstances that may come as unexpected to us, but are fully within His good, sovereign will.

I awoke the second morning of the tournament, October 24, at 5:28am to a phone call from our head administrator telling me the school gym was on fire and I needed to get over there as soon as possible.  Due to quick work from the firemen and help from the sprinkler system that was installed after the 2012 fire that had left us out of the building for a full year, the fire was extinguished relatively quickly, with much less damage than last time.  However, it brought up a potential logistical nightmare because matches were slated to go all day.  Thankfully, through God’s provision and the graciousness of two other schools opening their gyms to us, the day went on without hindrance, and even included the opportunity to host Christian Character Awards and sing worship songs in a public school gym – He is so faithful.  By that evening, the police had also brought the suspect into custody, with him having admitted to starting both fires.  It has been an opportunity for our school to offer grace, mercy and forgiveness, as we truly want nothing more than the young man to know there is God who loves Him.  As is stated in the Word, “…forgive one another, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).”  Reports are that the young man surrendered His life to Christ in prison not too long after being brought in. 

Our gym floor and stage were destroyed in the fire and had to be replaced, leaving us scrambling for gym space for practices and games for the last month and a half, but what a small thing in light of eternity.  We serve a God who is sovereign over our circumstances and it has been truly amazing to see Him work through everything. 

Worshipping our Lord and Savior during Christian Character
Aftermath of the Oct 2014 fire in the school gym
Newly installed gym floor at HCS

Women’s Conference
The second weekend in November I had the absolute privilege and blessing of traveling to Billings with three dear sisters in Christ to a women’s conference at a church there.  One, Julie, was the lead speaker and the rest of us, who she refers to as the “Barnabas sisters” (encouragers) were going alongside of her to minister to the women in attendance.  Our prayer was that we would display authentic, transparent relationships as sisters in Christ.  We settle for surface level, fake, worldly relationships so often, even in Christian circles, and it has been convicting to see that God calls us to much more than that in His Word.  He tells us to bear one another’s burdens, rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, confess sin to and pray for one another, lay down our lives and serve one another in love.  It was beautiful to see some of the women start to grasp this concept by the end of our time together.  The theme for the weekend was on keeping our hearts. In Proverbs 4:23 it says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  When pressed, what is in our heart will be revealed in our attitudes and actions.  It is so important to eradicate any sin in our lives, guard our heart and have a right view of God in light of Scripture so that we can minister effectively to others and so that we do not ruin our witness.

With Renee, Julie and Lori

Many of you have also known and prayed for Julie over the past 15 months.  In September 2013, I was with her in the library when she fell ill and ended up in the ER.  Days later she found out she had stage 4 cancer.  Her journey eventually took her down to MD Anderson where she had an intensive surgery last March.  Unless anything unforeseen comes up before April, that is when she will return to MD Anderson for another scan.  I have joked at times that the builders of the school didn't know what they were doing putting the athletic office right across from the library (us sporty people can get a little rambunctious and loud :), but all joking aside it truly has been one of the greatest blessings having the opportunity to serve at the school with her right across the hall. She has become such a dear sister in Christ and is an amazing example that has challenged me to grow deeper in my own walk with the Lord. She truly makes the most of every day and each opportunity, while holding fast to Him and wanting to steward her suffering in a way that points others to Jesus.  Please pray for her, her husband Ray and their three kids as they continue to walk this journey out - that they would be given the supernatural ability to continue to walk in the joy of the Lord and for wisdom and discernment at each turn.  Here is a link to when she spoke nine months ago at the church she attends here in Bozeman if you want to know more of her story - ...  Definitely worth setting aside the time to listen.

With Julie at one of the school soccer games this fall.
One of the songs that has become a staple through this time has been "Jesus, Firm Foundation" - here are some of the lyrics...

The soul that is trusting in Jesus as Lord
Will press on enduring the darkest of storms
And though even hell should endeavor to shake
He'll never, no never, no never forsake
He'll never, no never, no never forsake

How firm our foundation
How sure our salvation
And we will not be shaken 
Jesus, Firm Foundation

Age to age He stands
Faithful to the end
All may fade away
But He will remain
He will remain!...

Where is your foundation?  Are your feet upon the Solid Rock as you walk through the trials in your life?  Trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior does not mean trials will not come, it just means those who have trusted in Christ are able to walk through them differently, with a peace, joy and comfort that is not of this world.  Have you trusted Him as your personal Savior?  If not, may today be the day of salvation ... 

At church, things continue to move forward with the partnership/joining together of the two churches and I am so excited to see where God leads in the days ahead.  To have such unity on our leadership team in this season and such a focus on equipping saints for the Kingdom has been such a blessing.  Please pray we continue on in the direction God has for us, and especially for the youth, as we have some meetings coming up that could provide ways to use outdoor recreation as a platform to share Christ with the youth in this city.

One of our pastors, Bill, lost his wife, Sandy, to cancer two weeks ago.  She was one of the most joyful people in the Lord I have ever met and she lifted His name high and always kept her smile to the very end.  Please pray for Bill, our worship leader Tim (one of their sons) and the rest of the family as they walk through this season, and while although they are grieving, they hold unswervingly to the hope we have in Christ.  Please pray for the body of Christ that surrounds them to also be able to support in every way the Lord leads.

Nashville Trip:
I really can't even put into words how grateful I was for the chance to go to Tennessee in early December - such an absolutely sweet, blessed time with so many brothers and sisters in Christ - so refreshing getting to catch up, share in all that God has been doing, pray together, get lots of hugs and pick up right where we left off (other than the fact all the kids are growing up way too fast! :)  Although the whole having to say "see you later" never gets any easier, I also had a pull on my heart the whole time to get back out to where God has called me to serve in this season here in Bozeman.  More than the desire for worldy comfort may my heart continue to believe that Jesus is better.  I am totally in awe of the doors He has opened and the people He brought into my life here in Bozeman over the past two and a half years.  Can't wait to see what He has in store in the time ahead...

Christmas Chapel at Foundations Christian Academy, where
I worked for two years in Nashville.  So good to see everyone
and thankful to know all the kids are continuing to be raised
to walk with the Lord.

Nashville kiddos!

Nashville kiddos!

Nashville kiddos!

Nashville kiddos! ... Go Commodores! :)

Thank you so much to each of you who have prayed, encouraged, supported and loved in a way that has shown Jesus in tangible ways in my life.  Just know… “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God… (Philippians 1:3).”

Wishing each of you a Merry Christmas! God bless.

Bozeman sunrise

Winter wonderland

Bozeman morning in December

Not a bad view... :)