12 Love Letters | Father’s House 7

Love, is a winding road. Older than old.

Love, is a mystery. It’s got a hold on me and I just can’t shake it.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThrough these 7 weeks I see 12 Love letters from Christ delivered to the world. That the world will know Him. Not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of the human heart.IMG_0530Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe transition into a ‘school co-leading role’ included many firsts for me that were not always easy. Yet here, in my weakness, He is the strongest, and the most magnified and the most glorified! The testimonies that were shared in this school were unbelievable. Our Father God’s redemptive work in the lives of His children never ceases to amaze me.

Such is our reliance on Him- not a confidence that comes from ourselves, but all power and ability and SUFFICIENCY are from God. It is HE who qualifies us- making us fit and worthy and sufficient as ministers and dispensers of this Love message of salvation through Jesus! – II Cor. 3:2-6IMG_0888I am without words to describe the joy..as well as the growth in what we experience these days, therefore I’ll let the photos speak for themselves and highlight a few unique moments during our discipleship school, Father’s House 7.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetP1100767Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetIMG_6153DSCN0211IMG_0975DSCN0180During the second week of the school we experienced a forest fire that was quite close to home. The fire started on the neighboring farm because of the drought and after a week of fighting it, the fire was finally extinguished. It wasn’t an easy week for the community, but together we saw the power of unity in prayer and God’s loving protection through it all.

I will not fear for You are with me! // He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in ALL your ways. You will not fear sudden disaster, for it won’t come near your tent. – Ps. 91 IMG_8714DSCN0176IMG_0891DSCN0219Processed with VSCO with a6 presetDuring week four, we traveled on three-day outreach to a township outside of Cape Town called Mannenburg. Over the years this specific area has become overcrowded with high incidences of crime and gang activity emerging. While working with several local ministries, our students joined to offer prayer and encouragement for local kids and families desperately seeking the hope and the love of Jesus in a dark place. God’s presence was tangibly felt with healing and salvation happening all around.IMG_0704Processed with VSCO with a6 presetIMG_0702Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe last week of FH7 before graduation, our fearless leaders, Johan and Marie had the wild idea of taking our students on a 14hr train trip to a massive prayer gathering in Bloemfontain, located centrally in the Free State province of South Africa. You may have heard about this national gathering for prayer on the news, as 1.7 million South Africans gathered before God to pray for the nation politically, economically, spiritually and relationally in unity as a people. It was a huge privilege to be a part of something so radical and I believe as so many gather with one focus, we will see change and God’s love emerging at the center of a once broken nation.P1100981Processed with VSCOP1110012DSCN0282IMG_1225VCSI2520The gift of being a part of these 12 stories for 7 weeks is a privilege I cannot put into words. To see each student fall in love with Him, to blossom and flourish in family, to be willing to be broken and willing to be healed. To forgive, to cheer each other on, to fight for love- this is the vision. This is why we do what we do. That the world will KNOW Him.

All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Jesus. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are His ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Jesus when we cry, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Jesus, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Him. – II Cor. 5:18-20

Love is a dangerous word to those who fear losing control.

Love is a wild wind and no one knows which way it goes.

Love, it’s a dangerous word.

Following these seven weeks we continue with a two week extended outreach to three locations in the Western Cape. If you are interested in photos from our outreach work, I’ve shared them here: That the World will Know Him.

If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.

 

 

 

That the World will Know Him.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  II Cor. 2:14Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

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Witsand // Slangrivier, South Africa

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Swellendam // Railton, South Africa

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Montague // Ashbury, South Africa

IMG_0952IMG_0694IMG_0747IMG_0773IMG_0751IMG_0943IMG_1412IMG_0761IMG_0762IMG_1022IMG_0703IMG_0712IMG_1023The ‘mission’ can be seen in a myriad of ways in which the kingdom of God expresses itself– highly varied and always redemptive!

God the Father sent Jesus in grace to remove shame and distance that we created between us and Him. To draw us unto Himself from being orphaned in sin to being adopted as His own. Not because of anything we have done or deserve, but because of his great expansive Love.

That we might know Him.

If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.

 

 

 

Hope is Rising.

I’d like to walk you through a picture-story of our time in Europe to express an experience that I can hardly put into words. Through these photos I hope to share what God did, the beauty we encountered, as well as what was in my heart…europe map

1. The Netherlands / ZandaamIMG_6940We stayed with friends of ours- Hein and Elise who are like family to us by now! It was a huge blessing to enjoy their home and also learn from them as they share about married life, work, and being God’s Love in their community.

One morning we were invited to share at a small gathering where many Iranian refugees were attending to find a sense of community and faith as well as prayer. Most of them were praying for their wives and children still beyond borders. It really moved my heart to think of myself in their shoes. Completely helpless to connect with those you love most. The situation forces complete reliance on God and His heart to prove good beyond disaster and disconnect we experience in this world. His desire is to not only to unite family, but to unite nations!IMG_6958All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Cor. 5:18-19IMG_6985IMG_6983IMG_7002
IMG_7059IMG_7025IMG_7044While in Zandaam we also shared the pleasure of exploring Hollands quaint history and beauty in it’s gardens, waterways, windmills and windy days! We also celebrated Barbara’s birthday with brunch in Hein and Elise’s beautiful backyard garden.

See what great Love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children in the family of God! – 1 John 3:1

2. The Netherlands / Riiland

In the following days we drove from Zaandam to Riiland, Holland- packed in our tiny car with matching bags as if we are a traveling soccer team. =)IMG_7058IMG_7055We arrived and were welcomed by The Lighthouse family to share and do life with their team. It was a special weekend of connection, learning, and worship together.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2IMG_7083IMG_7065IMG_7063One of my favorite memories was running with Barbara through the wheat fields to the top of the dam. It’s a mystery to see the ground beneath my feet that is, in fact, below sea level!…and I remain confused.

The misty skies and mysterious sea level remind me of what it means to run in this life by faith alone.IMG_7071Hope in His Love. The world does not know us..and we ourselves don’t know what we will yet be…but we know that we will be like Him – who is Love- so we hope for that!  – 1 John 3:3

And this hope will not disappoint us, because God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been freely given to us. – Romans 5:5

3. Germany / Starbach / Dresden

Meeting Barbara’s family was refreshing, and a bit like living in a story book. We learned about the grain business from her dad, while enjoying the tastiness of her mom’s delicious cooking and being spoiled by their delightful hospitality. IMG_7169IMG_7170IMG_7098IMG_7111IMG_7161IMG_7276IMG_7356One afternoon, we all jumped in the back of her dad’s 1958 truck for a rainy, and bumpy drive over hills of green farm land, to her dad’s favorite lookout spot.

Here, he prays for their community, for the local famers, for the government, and for his country. It was a privilege to be there agreeing with that prayer.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. – Hebrews 6:10,11IMG_7357IMG_7254IMG_7257IMG_7355IMG_7275IMG_7273Meeting this family, I am reminded of Gods delight in the details, in excellence in design, in hard work, in pioneering and praying through intense and even politically hard years, yet raising beautiful children with shining souls and bright futures.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of HIMSELF very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of this hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. – Hebrews 6:17-18

4. Czech Republic / Prague

Our first train in Prague I felt a surprising contrast between delight and despair. I was meant to be taking in the romantic beauty of the city, yet there was a stirring in my heart for the Czech people to be free from a heaviness still stifling personality and true joy.

I was encouraged by the simple curiosity of a child still untainted by a culture that was created in the era that went before her.IMG_7302IMG_7325When I went on a walk with our host Lily, she explained that during Communist control, even previous apartment buildings were designed in a way that prevented people from living in community.

I thought about the impact that a design like this can have on people. Over time, isolation and lack of community slowly breaks humanity down into lifeless beings with no freedom to share and celebrate and have joy-filled connections. Without connection we lose motivation and hope. We need each other. IMG_7360IMG_7402IMG_7408God was so good to allow us to stay with Lily- she invited us to her dad’s birthday party where we experienced a family full of love and affection for each other.

At their church we were able to share our story of full-time missions and encourage their community to be reminded of God’s passion for his Body across the globe. The people were really touched and received prayer before leaving to carry the gospel to Estonia.

And so….after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. He received his inheritance…JESUS. The only firm and secure hope for all his kingdom descendants- to enter Gods presence and receive eternal salvation. – Hebrews 6:15IMG_7335IMG_7721IMG_7417IMG_7432IMG_7434So let hope rise. And darkness tremble in your holy light, that every eye will see JESUS– Our God! Great and mighty to be praised!

God of all days, glorious in all of your ways- Your majesty, and wonder and grace are in the light of your Name! Let hope rise.

6. Poland / Swidnica

In Poland we met with a young mother named Paulina. She welcomed us into her home, fed us at her table, and shared with us all that God is doing in her small town of Swidnica. We were amazed at this connection we could not have planned ourselves. Paulina was full of expectation with our arrival, and we had barely been in Poland a few hours.IMG_7631IMG_7608IMG_7609IMG_7612IMG_7622IMG_7623Later that evening we went with Paulina and her family to the ‘Resting Place’ – basically a central space where they meet weekly to seek God, to pray and worship in their small community.

We were amazed at their hunger. They don’t have much in the eyes of the world- but a genuine, simple and bold way of worshipping the King of Kings! They looked at us with eyes full of expectancy and love, waiting to hear a word from the Lord. They came one by one, full of faith, ready in prayer, and in a moment were touched by His Spirit. Their hearts soft and ready to receive Him.IMG_7634We have this hope. JESUS. As an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:26,33

5. Germany / Berlin

Driving into the city I immediately felt a next level German efficiency and rigor! We toured Berlin with our friend Marvin, who took us by U-Bahn through the city center, to the Berlin Memorial, as well as the Holocaust Memorial. IMG_7563IMG_7531IMG_7537IMG_7897IMG_7550IMG_7558IMG_7904IMG_7568In the midst of the tour we were feeling strung-out and strange with the intensity of the city. We decided to re-connect with each other at the house of prayer at Marvin’s church.

There we soaked in the moment and gathered together to pray for Berlin and for revival in Germany. I was completely overwhelmed by God’s Spirit and could only feel His heart for the people- for the pain of the past- for the oppression caused by communism and control. I felt the intense heaviness of the burden and God’s heart just pouring out His love for His people, that they would reach out and find Him as He truly is. That they would allow His love and grace to banish every darkness and find hope arising there.

As we left the house of prayer to make the walking journey back to our hostel, I couldn’t shake what the Spirit was doing. I wept uncontrollably.IMG_7573IMG_7582We descended the stairs to the underground subway where young people were gathering and partying, it was all I could do to not start bursting out the name of Jesus! For in His mercy to save them from their aimless goals and dead end pursuits…from their obvious cries for attention, seeking worth and beauty and lusting for food that will numb but not satisfy.

And I wept. My spirit groaned deep within me.

For the very dream of God is for all to come to Him; full of hope and expectation. He IS who He says He is! He is the best friend who knows you. He says you’re never alone because you are His! Because He died for you! He satisfies every distant dream and longing, with HIMSELF. He IS the very food we crave. He IS the bread of life. He IS the Father to the fatherless. IMG_7600IMG_7601IMG_7604We get it all wrong. We think hope is having expectation that our worldly circumstances will change, and if and when they do, then it’s all worth it. No. Hope in God! HE alone is worth it. This life is temporary! Hope in what the world offers and you’ll end up with depression, anxiety, fear, hunger for power and control, temporary highs, restlessness, loneliness, temporary relationships and torn families.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. Oh my soul, put your hope in the Lord, for with Jehovah is unfailing Love and with Him is full restoration. – Psalm 130:5-7

7. The Netherlands / Amsterdam

Our second time back in the Netherlands offered one cloudy day to explore the city. It was rainy in Amsterdam, but the city provoked my curiosity.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you restless within me? Hope you in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who IS the health of my countenance, my God, my Creator, the Maker of the heavens and the earth.- Psalm 42:5 IMG_7701IMG_7694IMG_7685Hoping for different, ideal, or secure circumstances is a temporary satisfaction and a weak foothold. Hope in God is secure.

Hope in His Love- His never changing nature is a solid foundation for living this life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Give up your vain pursuit of self, give hope to the poor in spirit. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” – Luke 12:32-33 IMG_7703IMG_7705IMG_7678For all goodness, and every perfect gift is from above; it simply comes from the Father of Lights -the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens- in whom there is no variation…no rising or setting or shadow cast by His turning like the moon in an eclipse. For He is perfect and never changes! – James 1:17

When nations choose JESUS alone- Hope in him will bring justice where there is injustice, peace where there is anxiety, unity where there is division. We need you, God of Love. God of Mercy. Show us how to love. Make us more like Jesus.

For every tribe and people and nation…

May the God of peace- who brought up Jesus from the dead, giving us an eternal covenant with His blood- May He equip you with hope and all that you need for doing His will.
May he produce His Love in you, through the power of Jesus, and every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory going to Him forever and ever. – Hebrews 13:20-21

It is Him, I hope to give you. Go and change the world!

What does love look like? // South Africa

After my previous 10 weeks in Mozambique, I arrived here, the Western Cape of South Africa.

What does it sound like, when we sing heaven’s song? What does it feel like when heaven comes down? What does it look like, when God is all around?

These are the questions I had running through my head when I flew into this beautiful land.IMG_3185IMG_3272IMG_3276
The first day out, our team visited local townships outside of the city and helped to host an evening for the children to have a warm meal as well as a time of singing and sharing Jesus’ love for them. We were able to pray with many of the children and some of their families.IMG_3263IMG_8127IMG_8136IMG_8130IMG_8125IMG_8129IMG_8141What does love look like for these families? What does it look like for His love to be all around?

Jesus said, ‘Blessed, spiritually prosperous, happy, and to be admired are the poor in spirit– those void of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven, both now and forever.’ Mt. 5:7

What do I know of this love? That the poor can be filled, blessed, and satisfied in it? Theirs is the kingdom of heaven?

When I come and quiet my soul, Jesus show me this love. Show me what your kind of love looks like. There is no care in the world when I am trusting you completely. IMG_3456Another day, we spent quality time with children at a local orphanage. Even though I don’t speak the Afrikaans language, it seems that nothing translates better than the language of love. To these children, love looks like play, love looks like hugs, and chasing and falling on the ground with them in laughter.IMG_8172IMG_8158IMG_8156IMG_8152IMG_8146IMG_8189IMG_8188IMG_8185For He promises to turn our mourning into dancing, our tears into songs of joy.

He is a Father to the fatherless. He sets the lonely in families.

His love never fails.IMG_3454In the fertile Robertson Valley, fruit farming is one of the area’s prominent industries. Still, many families live in humble conditions, and their children are left to take care of themselves. Our team was able be a part of a weekly kids club for the farm children– playing games, offering a warm meal, and having a time of singing, and prayer for them. IMG_8210IMG_8239IMG_8221IMG_8213IMG_8233IMG_8215IMG_8244IMG_8240IMG_8242While there, I was gripped by the weariness of the children in the poor communities. Their dreams seeming so far and out of reach, they question if there is any reason to hope or dream at all.

I would love to give my time to the young as well as the old who carry this deep longing for hope. No matter the age we all need to learn to dream again with our Father.IMG_3267This spring I will join the team in South Africa full time— And of course, welcome this invitation with great joy!

I will continue working with the local poor in townships adjacent to Cape Town and will also be staffing the Iris Global Missions School called ‘The Father’s House‘.

The purpose is to equip and train students to be fearless, passionate disciples of Jesus, to know His love that surpasses knowledge, and to be sent out to influence the nations.

What does His love look like?

His love is fierce. His love is wild. It is unyielding as the grave. His love stops at nothing— it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters cannot drown it, torrents of rain can’t put it out. Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold— it’s not to be found in the marketplace.

Once you get a taste of His extravagant love for you. There is no turning back. IMG_3645I am the True Vine.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.

-Jesus