Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do We Really Believe It?

  There are a lot of thoughts that are running through my head tonight. It has been a busy day, more than that a busy last few weeks! Today was our first day of Teen Music Camp. This is an annual event in our community where teens come for a weekend and learn skits and music that they perform in a worship service at the end of the weekend. I say perform, but perform isn't the right word. They use these songs and skits to lead the community in worship at the end of the weekend. It was amazing to see 40+ teens singing together and enjoying fellowship with one another all day today.
  The whole focus of today was worship. The thought that worship is all about God and it is a lifestyle, not just something we participate in for an hour a week. This is such a foundational truth that we all need to be reminded of, almost daily! It is so easy for us to make things about ourselves, and we do it without even realizing!
  While thinking about this, God brought this thought to my mind, do we really believe God's Word? I mean more than do we know His word, but do we really believe His Word? Because this flows out into every area of our lives. What we believe about God reaches into every area of our lives. Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." If we say we believe in God's Word and we truly trust it, then our lives will reflect that! No question about it! What is in our hearts will come out in our lives! We can't trick people by trying to live a life that looks good like we believe a Christian's life should, when in reality our hearts are dead to Him. Unless he gives us a new heart, all that will flow out of us will be death because our heart is dead! But when He gives us a new heart, life will flow out of us! It will be evident! I love the illustration David Platt uses for this. He compares the change that Christ brings in our life to being hit by a Mack truck - there is going to be a difference! You don't get hit by a Mack truck and walk away looking the same as you did beforehand. You walk away looking drastically different!
  We cannot say that Christ has changed our lives if our lives look exactly the same as they did before! it simply isn't Biblical! What is in our hearts will come out! So if what is coming out looks nothing like Christ, the issue lies in the heart! Proverbs 4:23 says "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Another version says 'for from it flow the issues of life." Everything about our lives begins in our heart. If we have issues with anything in life, we must move past simply treating the symptoms and realize it is a heart issue!
   I am not however saying that as believers we do not sin. We absolutely sin! We struggle daily with the flesh. However, the difference is in the lifestyle. If the pattern of my life is sinful, that doesn't look like Christ! Remember, if you get hit by a Mack truck, you will look like it! As believers we do sin, but the Holy Spirit of God that dwells within us opens our eyes to the fact that we have sinned and just like Romans 2:4 says "God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance." This does not happen in the life of the non-believer. It happens in the lives of those who have been hit head on by the extravagant grace of an awesome, holy God, and they are never the same because of it! This same God, Takes away our dead heart of stone and gives us a new heart! "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 32:26.
   If this awesome, holy God has hit us head on with His extravagant grace, we can no longer live like we lived before. We cannot make excuses! If this has taken place in our lives, the result will be the life of Christ flowing out of the new heart He has given us!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Launch Update

We have just finished the first day of the Launch Assessment Retreat & it has been a long, good day! It is exciting to be surrounded by couples who are in a similar place as us. Hearing all the stories of how God has called these couples has been refreshing and God has used it in a great way to reaffirm what he is doing in and through Zeke and I.
Along with the blessing of the assessment retreat, it has also been wonderful to see our Vegas faith family and get to see their new facility! I am so humbled to see all that God has done over the last 11 years! It is just like God to move in the way he has moved in our lives through this assessment! For us to be able to go through this with part of our faith family that has guided us through many other major life events is a huge blessing!

Please continue to pray for us! Tomorrow will be a day of more assessment and instruction.
- Pray for wisdom and understanding as we are assessed.
- Pray for clarity as we share the vision God has given us for Hawaii.
- Pray for the relationships and partnerships we are building through this retreat.
- Pray for restful sleep tonight as we are both dealing with some jet lag (Zeke more so than me).

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray for us and your support of us through this season of our lives! We greatly appreciate it!

Zeke and Layne

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Prayer Needs

As most of you already know, God has made clear to Zeke and I the calling to plant a church in his hometown in Hawaii. God has allowed us to connect with a program called Launch to help us through this process of church planting. Through this program, there are various assessments to determine where we fall in our readiness to church plant. Zeke has already competed many of these assessment online. This Sunday we will fly out to Las Vegas for 2 days of church planting training/assessment. I am writing this blog to ask you to be praying for us during this time. Zeke will be coming back from Italy Sunday afternoon and we will turn right around and fly out to Las Vegas, so there are a lot of logistics involved. So with that said, here is how you can be praying for us:
-Pray for Zeke and the team in Italy as they spend their last few days in Italy and begin their trip home.
-Pray for flight connections to be on time.
-Pray for Zeke as he deals with jet lag returning from Italy & preparing for this training.
-Pray for wisdom and understanding as we learn more about church planting.

Thank you in advance for your prayers! We truly appreciate them! We cannot wait to see all that God is going to do!