Knowing Him

Wow, the last few weeks since launch have been really amazing. I can't believe that launch was 6 weeks ago already. I am learning so much more about Him, and seeing glimpses of who I am in Him. Its awesome. Just when I think I have things pretty much figured out - He adds something else to the mix.

At least it keeps things fresh and interesting!

So things for me right now are pretty awesome. God is doing some amazing things in my life. There are areas of my life where I have sought after Him, and he has answered. Even this week, he has fulfilled one of the desires of my heart. He is just so faithful. Yet, I know there is so much more that He wants for me and from me. Oh, I feel like I'm on the edge of an amazing breakthrough in my spiritual life. Its definitely exciting, and scary....and frustrating, since I'm still just on the edge. :)

I've been listening to a series from Desert Springs called "The Christian Atheist." A Christian atheist is someone who believes in God, but lives their life as if He doesn't exist. Wow. Thats a tough thought, huh? Sort of sounds like being lukewarm. And making God want to puke. Not pleasant. Anyway, they were talking about how we can know all about God. We can know all his attributes, and we can recite scriptures. We can even talk to people about him. But do we really truly know him?

Growing up, I loved Bette Midler (yeah, I know - don't laugh - I'm not normal...) I had all her CD's, all her movies. Anytime she was on TV I recorded her, I cut out all the magazine articles I could find about her. I had her movie posters hanging on my wall at a time when most girls my age had New Kids on the Block posters (we've already established that I'm not normal, okay?). I read biographies on her, I knew she was born in Hawaii on December 1, 1945. That her first movie was called, Hawaii. I knew that she started her music career by singing with Barry Manilow in New York City. I knew obscure information, too, like that her sister was killed by a taxi while on the way to one of Bette's performances. I knew all her songs, and could quote most lines from her movies. I even got my hair permed so that my hair would look like hers did in the movie "Beaches." But I didn't KNOW her. I've never met Bette Midler. I've never even been to one of her concerts. The extent of my relationship with her is built solely on factual knowledge and data that I researched during that time.

I know a lot about God. I have favorite verses that I cling to when I'm scared or worried. I know that He loves me, and that he is faithful, and good, and amazing. But how well do I KNOW him? I know that God loves me because the bible says that He does. But have I let that knowledge travel from my head to my heart? Do I live like I am a daughter of the God of the Universe? I am. I know I am, but do I believe that I am? I have to let go of what I know about God, and start having a relationship with him. I have to stop thinking so much about things, and start just trusting him. I have to let go of my preconceived notions of him, things I've been taught about him and allow him to show me who he is. Its MY relationship with God, not anyone elses. I can't expect to truly know him based on biographies or movies or songs or books ABOUT him. Those things can be helpful, don't get me wrong, but the only way I am really going to get to know Him is by allowing him access to my heart. Allowing him to love me. Allowing him to do work in my life.

So that's my goal. Have an intimate relationship with the God of the universe. Might seem a lofty goal, huh? But seeing as the God of the universe wants to have an intimate relationship with me, I'm thinking it will prolly happen. :)


Portico Launch!!

Disclaimer: Believe it or not, I took ZERO photos at the launch! So, I'm stealing some photos I found on Facebook. :)

Sunday, September 19th
11:00 am
Portland, Oregon

I've been thinking a lot, back to last year at this time. Still living in Phoenix, and having NO IDEA how I would even make it to Portland. Meeting with the team from Wausau Wisconsin over Skype and conference calls. Talking about all that would be happening in September 2010. It seemed so far away at the time, and yet now our launch has come and gone.

Let me start by first of all saying, the Launch of Portico Church was amazing! We have prayed for weeks and months for this day, and God did not disappoint. Launch weekend started for me by picking up some dear friends at the airport, who had flown in from Arizona to be here with us. Pastor Brad and Becky Davis, and Marja from Desert Springs Church in Chandler, AZ. It was awesome to see them. Tracy and I surprised them by meeting them at the airport, holding huge signs and all!!

At about 5:00 Saturday evening we headed to the church for set up. Once set up was done, Pastor Mark had us write down on cards any thoughts or memories about the church, anything God was saying to us, we wrote down on cards and placed into a box to be opened next year at this time and see just what God has done!

Sunday morning started at 8:30 for worship rehearsal. I really felt God even in our rehearsing that morning. I have to say, I am humbled and honored to be a part of the worship team. Tracy is an amazing worship leader!! Pre-service prayer started at 10:15 - and then the guests started arriving. It was wonderful to see all the people we had been praying for there. They were actually there! We had visitors from Turning Point church, who has been an amazing resource to us as we've gotten started here. We had visitors from the Oregon Ministry Network. We had co-workers and neighbors and friends. It was awesome. In all, there were about 75 people there that morning. Pastor Mark spoke on relationships and our relationship with God. Joe and Laurie gave awesome testimonies of how God has used relationships in their own lives to draw them closer to Him.

When it all boils down, the presence of God is all we really wanted for that morning. We wanted God to come in and change lives. To set captives free. To just love on his people. We wanted to create an environment where He was free to do that. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that is what happened. I believe lives WERE changed. Mine was and will continue to be. God SO loves his people. Every one of us. Even me and even you. :) To Him be the Glory for the great things he has done this weekend - in a brand new little church - in Portland, Oregon.


First Portico Service

August 22nd
11:00 am
Portico Church

Today was our first Sunday morning service! So awesome! We've been meeting as a church body for several months already, but today was the first Sunday morning service meeting as Portico Church!

So, we're meeting in a building that the Salvation Army used as their headquarters until last year. The sanctuary is already set up with a stage and pews. We met last night from 7-9 to set up and run through worship for the morning. Even though the place is set up like a church, there is still a lot to do as far as getting all the trussing up. Last nights set up was fairly easy because we haven't got our sound system in yet, so hopefully by next week. :) There are also two childrens rooms that were set up and made ready for the kids in the morning!

Because we don't have our sound system yet, we had acoustic worship. Tracy led worship with Rachel on vocals and me on guitar. I think God really met us there! Then Mark preached from Ephesians 2. He talked about how we used to follow the ways of the world and were hopeless. How if we weren't living for God then we were living for the ruler of the Kingdom of the air, who is Satan. We could not be good enough for God. BUT... "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Eph 2:4,5 Gods grace saved us. Grace isn't deserved and can't be earned. I love it!

I have to say, my favorite part of the service was when Mark was talking about how we were hopeless, then we get to verse 4 and it says, "but". It was at this point in the service Mark gave the quote that I hope he will be remembered for for the rest of his life: "God is the creator of big but's." Yeah - that quote will live on and on... :).

I have to say that I am certainly honored that God called me to serve in Portland. Honored and humbled. I think about how I get to be a part of what God is doing here, and I look at the people I get to do it with and I thank God! I know today is just the beginning. I can't wait to see where we are in a few months or years. Can't wait to see the lives that will be changed. Can't wait to see how Gods name will be glorified in Portland. It happened this morning. At Portico Church.


Paul's Last Lessons

Second Timothy. Paul’s famous last words. This would be his last letter - his final charge to Timothy. Paul was sentenced to death for his belief in Christ. He was leaving Timothy the most important things he could think of. Paul knew his time was running out. He knew these would be his final words.

As I was reading through 2 Timothy this week, I decided to make a list of all the things Paul instructed Timothy to do in this final letter. Thought it would be a good way to see all of the things Paul thought were the most important things to tell Timothy:

· Fan into flame the gift of God that is in you (1:6)

· For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline. (1:7)

· Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord (1:8)

· What you heard from me, keep as a pattern of sound teaching (1:13)

· Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you with the help of the Holy Spirit (1:14)

· Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2:1)

· Entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others the things you heard me say (2:2)

· Endure hardship like a good soldier (2:3)

· Reflect on what I am saying, the Lord will give you insight into all this (2:7)

· Keep reminding them about these things (2:14)

· Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2:15)

· Avoid godless chatter (2:16)

· Flee the evil desires of youth (2:22)

· Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments (2:23)

· The Lords servant must not quarrel (2:24)

· Gently instruct those who oppose you (2:25)

· Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (3:14)

· All scripture is God-breathed (3:16)

· Preach the word (4:2)

· Be prepared in season and out of season (4:2)

· Correct, rebuke and encourage (4:2)

· Keep your head in all situations (4:5)

· Endure hardship (4:5)

· Do the work of an evangelist (4:5)

· Discharge all the duties of your ministry (4:5)


4th of July

I love fireworks.

I remember when I lived in Colorado Springs, my dad and I would climb on the roof and watch the fireworks shows from all around the city.

I missed my dad this year.

I WAS able to spend the 4th with my dearest friends here in Portland, though, so - it was great. Mark and Jake found a spot on Skylane Road. Tracy and Rachel tried to stay warm in the cool night air. Cary, Jeannea and Amy joined us. Alli and Maddy had their fill of sparklers... We could see fireworks all over Portland and Vancouver. Was probably the most fireworks I've ever seen. Pretty amazing. We lit off some of our own fireworks as well. The grand finale was to be the "Leapin' Lizards" fountain, a three stage fountain firework! It was awesome!

Was a great night, when we were finished we cleaned up all the leftover firework debris, but the Leapin' Lizards fountain was still a little smoky. Well, we couldn't put it in the trunk with the rest of the trash. And I couldn't keep it inside the car because of the smoke. So, the most logical thing to do was to just hold the thing outside the car window as we drove home. Right? Makes sense? Well, it did. Until the embers were fanned by the wind from the moving car. Tracy says from the backseat, "There are flames shooting out of the top!"

Now, keep in mind - we are driving home through a fairly heavily wooded area. I couldn't just drop the flaming piece of pyrotechnics.... Not only that, there was a bit of traffic. I still wonder what the guy behind us must have thought. Ha ha ha!!

Anyway, we got down the road a bit, and pulled into a parking lot which is where we found a nice puddle to throw the still smoking fountain...and all was well.


Be Careful what you ask for...

Its a dangerous thing - asking God to rend your heart.

Because He will.

And the result of that prayer is a rended heart. A broken heart.

This past week God has really emphasized in my life my total, complete and absolute need for dependence on Him. In the past, when I would struggle with anxiety or sin or whatever - my first thought would be, "Okay, I need to get someone on the phone or text someone and ask them to pray for me." Now, there is nothing wrong with asking people to pray for us when we are struggling, the bible calls us to bear one anothers burdens, however, I was turning to people for help first, and not to God.

I just returned from a trip of a lifetime to Hawaii (which, there are photos of on Facebook...) It was an amazing trip! Since coming home, I've struggled with heightened emotions and being overly sensitive. Not sure why, other than I asked God to break my heart.

And He answered.

And I am turning to Him each morning for strength to make it through my day. And he is giving me all the strength I need.

Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

This verse always made sense to me before - but know I "get" it. No one likes suffering. However, I know me. I am sorry to say that I do not fully rely on God when things are going great. When everything is going perfect, I tend to forget about Him. Not something I'm proud of. So when there is a struggle, as minor as it may be - anxiety, worry, doubt, some sin struggle - those are the things that are keeping me on my knees. And though at times it sucks, I'm so grateful for the struggle. I'm actually rejoicing in my sufferings because its keeping me face to face with God. And now that I'm here - face to face with God - there is no limit to what He can do in my life. He can take this broken, rended heart and mold it into what he had planned all along.

Amazing, huh?

Okay - so church update:
Not sure if I mentioned this before, but the name of the church has been finalized - we are now officially Portico Church!!
You can take a look at the website here:
We have found a building in the Hollywood district of Portland, and will begin monthly services on August 15th. The official launch of the church will be September 19th. Thats 10 weeks away!!

So I would like to ask you all to pray for some things for the church:
1. Finances - In order to start this church - we are going to need funds. I know God can do anything!
2. Leadership/Directional Team - Please pray for the leaders of this church who have to make decisions and hear from God about direction.
3. Mark and Tracy Seger - Please pray for them as they lead this group. Please pray that God provide financially for them as they devote their lives to this call.
4. City of Portland - Please pray for the city of Portland. Just know God picked this place for a reason.

Thank you for reading and praying and following me and my rantings. Love you all!



Good morning.

I woke up early today and couldn't go back to sleep, so I thought I'd try writing what I think God has been trying to say the last few days.

Should be interesting, seeing as I'm a bit tired...

I love this journey that I am on. Its frustrating at times. There are times when I wish I would just know what it is God wants me to know so I can move on from here. But the mere fact that I am desiring and longing for more from Him is encouraging to me. Makes me feel like He isn't satisfied with where I'm at either, and that He is still working on me. That is amazing.

This past week I've been seeking as to how to have a broken heart before God. Or even to just be broken. I didn't know how to do that. And I still don't, to be quite honest. But I'm starting to think that maybe its not a matter of ME becoming broken. Maybe it is a matter of me surrendering my heart to him and letting him do the work on it. I do feel like I've given everything over to him, but I know there are parts of my life that I take back when things get hard or when things look uncertain. So maybe this process of rending my heart is more about surRENDering my heart. It may be something I have to do several times a day at first. Maybe even several times an hour.

But I have to do it.

I have to be able to be effective for Him.

I may be the only representation of God some people will ever see. I will be their only experience with Him. For their sake, I can't afford to miss it.

I do love this journey. Frustrating and discouraging as it may be at times, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt WHY I'm going through it. God isn't going to let me settle for the kind of relationship I've always had with him.

He wants more.

So do I.


Being Rended...

I'm still in the process. The rending process, that is.

Its not as fun as I had originally hoped.

Of course when you think of the word "rend" (being torn apart) I don't know why I would have thought it would be fun in the first place.

So, for the first few days since God dropped this phrase on me, I didn't know what to do. I knew God wanted my heart broken, but how do you do that?

I began to pray, Lord, break my heart. Or if I have to do it, show me how.

Its not that I don't want to be broken, I just don't know how.

So He has really shown me some things over the last few days. Some things I really need to work on.

1. Pride. That was a hard pill to swallow (why do you think that is....pride, perhaps?) ha! Pride comes in different forms. I tend to think of pride as thinking of yourself as better than someone else, or something like that. But it doesn't have to be that. It could be being 'shy' and not wanting to socialize with people for whatever reason. Wondering if people like me. Caring if they like me. When it all boils down, its pride, and I need to work on it.

2. Judging. I heard this at church yesterday. Honestly didn't think it applied to me, because I'm really not judgmental. Or so I thought. The pastor starting going through his checklist of what makes you judgmental. I think I could put a check mark beside each thing he mentioned. I don't remember them all, but one of them was finding faults in people. Little tiny microscopic faults. I don't do it all the time - but I still do sometimes. It needs to stop.

I had a #3 yesterday - but for the life of me I can't remember what it is today. I guess God figures I have enough to work on for right now.

So instead of being prideful, I want to be selfless. I want to open myself up to people and not worry about what might happen. I want to give of myself without any thought of what I might get in return. I want to know that I have pure and clean motives. I want to be an encouragement to others, and not judge them. I want people to see God instead of me. I want to see people the way God sees them, and love them like he does. If I can't do that, then I'm no good to him. Luckily, I'm still breathing, so there is still time to get this right. And I believe Gods word when it says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

He's not finished with me quite yet.

Thank God!


Rend my Heart

So this past month has been a bit of a blur...

Work is still going well. They had a contest last week to see who could collect the most money, and I actually came in 2nd place! I couldn't believe it!

I also moved into my apartment. Its in an attic of an old house near downtown Portland. Its not much but its perfect for me. I'm just about completely settled in.

We had our second Portico Church launch team service this weekend, and it was great. I absolutley love Portland. I love my church family. I am so thankful that God is allowing me to be a part of what He is doing here. Sometimes I look at my life and I think - How did I get to be so lucky to be here doing what I'm doing with who I'm doing it with... Its amazing to me.

Anyway...I digress...

So, I've started playing the electric guitar. I'm not real good at it yet, but I like it, and want to learn more. Certainly have a lot to learn!

As for me, I'm doing good. I am at a place in my life where I know there is more to my relationship with God. I know I can have a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. But I can't figure out how to get there. I know its a process, so I'm not going to get discouraged, I'm actually sort of excited to see what God does. I don't want to let another Easter or Christmas go by and not be changed by what Jesus did. I don't want to just say, "Oh how nice, Jesus died for me so that I might live." I should be knocking down the doors of my neighbors telling them about what Jesus did. I should be moved to tears by his death on the cross. I am grateful for what he did, don't get me wrong - I just know that there is more that He wants from me. I don't want to disappoint Him.

For the last couple days I've been thinking about all of this and this phrase keeps coming up in my mind, "Rend your heart." To be honest with you - until I looked it up today, I didn't really know what the word 'rend' meant. Ha!

1. to split apart or to tear into pieces violently
2. to tear (ones garment or hair) in aguish or rage
3. to harrow or distress (the heart) with painful feelings
4. to become torm or split

Okay..... so God. You want me to tear my heart into pieces violently. Ha ha ha. Okay, I don't think thats what He means. I'm not super clear what he does mean, though. But I am searching. And in my searching I found this verse:

Joel 2:12, 13 "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity"

Rend your heart and not your garments. In bible times, people would tear their garments as a physical expression of grief or anguish. I think God is saying, He doesn't want a physical expression of my grief but an ACTUAL expression of it. I want my heart to be broken about what he's done. I need my heart to break for those who don't yet know. I need to be burdened and broked. I need to want intimacy with God more than anything else in my life. I need to rend my heart.

So, there it is. I'm in the rending process, I suppose. I am excited. I know that God is taking me through this journey so that I will be closer to Him. I can't wait to get there!!



Trust. Why is it so hard? Why is it so hard to trust God – who is really the only one we can fully put our trust in? Ever since I’ve started this adventure in moving to Portland God has done nothing but prove to me that he is faithful and trustworthy. So now, when I have a million thoughts going through my thick head, I still wonder if He will really take care of me. I trust Him to a point where its comfortable, but beyond that, my faith begins to waver.

Now, I’m not complaining or whining. Truly. I know in my head that God will take care of me no matter what the circumstances. I just need to move that knowledge from my head to my heart. A friend texted me last week (and it was very timely...) She said, "Faith not Fear." That has been my motto for the last few weeks. I want to trust God. I want all he has for me. I want him to be able to use me in the way that he wants to. I want to truly surrender my life to Him without taking it back when things don't look the way I want them to.

Okay, now that I have that off my mind…

Things here are going really well. I have a job, I work in a call center as a customer service rep. Not my dream job, but it pays the bills. I just found and moved into an apartment. I will upload some pictures soon. This apartment was one of the first ones I found online when I moved here, and I didn’t think it could still be available now. It was. So exciting. Will be great to have a space that is my own. Not that I’m not extremely grateful for the people who have let me stay with them since getting here (Mark and Tracy, and Kelli). It just feels like everything is coming together.

A few weeks ago we went to Seattle to visit a church launch service there. It was a fun trip, and I think we learned a lot about what we want to do at our own launch. We were able to visit the fish market and the first Starbucks. Was pretty fun.

We also had our first launch team service on March 6th. It was great. We had worship and teaching. Can’t wait till the next one! I've started playing the electric guitar. What can I say - I love it! A lot of fun. A bit different from the acoustic, but a fun challenge.

I guess thats about it. Hope everyone is well - leave a comment - let me know you were here. :) Thanks!


6.5 weeks

I left Phoenix 6.5 weeks ago.

In some ways it doesn't seem like that long ago. In other ways it seems like I've been here much longer.

Here's a rundown on whats going on:

1. I got a JOB! I started working last week at Genesis Financial. I am a customer service representative. I started last Tuesday and I think it my actually be a good fit for me. I'm pretty excited to actually be working - I got a job in less than a month. As a matter of fact - as of last week - every person who had come to Portland and was looking for a job has found one. In this economy - that is truly a miracle.

2. Mark and the team have decided the area of Portland we will be planting in: the Hollywood district. I was driving through that area a few days ago, and really felt like it was a place where God wants to work. Its really awesome and exciting to see what He is doing and very humbling to think that we can be a part of it.

3. We are meeting every Thursday evening to pray and just spend time with each other. That is one of my favorite times during the week. One of my other favorite times during the week is worship rehearsal. I absolutely love it. I'm actually learning to play the electric guitar.... or trying to learn to play.

As far as prayers go:
* Please pray for housing for me. I need to find a really cheap, really close apartment. I don't want to live far from everyone, but the housing in this area is out of my price range. Please also pray for a roommate if that is the best thing for me.

* I would ask for continued prayers for Mark and Tracy. Please pray for continued wisdom and guidance for them. They have a lot of things they have to do in order to get the church going, and most of it is stuff that no one else can help them with.

* Please pray for finances and a church building. We really need a place to meet and the finances to meet there.

I want to thank everyone for your continued prayers. I have really felt them. This whole transition thing has not been the easiest for me - but this week I finally am starting to feel like myself again. The only way its possible is just my complete reliance on God. He has to be my everything. He is - I just have to know that he is. :)

Miss you all - love you so much!!


Updated my Portland Blog...

Hey all - I've updated my Portland Blog -