‘I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision’

•August 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Paul was testifying to King Agrippa when he makes this statement, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” in Acts 26:19. In my finite mind I think Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit could have just said, ‘I was obedient to the heavenly vision’ and the King would have got the basic idea. But, Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit, so those seemingly redundant negatives meant something. I believe he was communicating that he had a choice in the matter. Not just the sovereignty of God compelling him to fulfill his divine purpose and calling, thrusting him forward contrary to his will!

No, he had to exercise his will to stay obedient to the heavenly vision.

This passionate, relentless, untiring mover and shaker probably would have been a world-renowned tent maker in his time, as he stated several times in the epistles to do whatever you do (heartily) as unto the Lord. Most likely he could have developed an international tent making company, with the latest designs and modifications, fabrics and quality and become a wealthy, successful entrepreneur. If he had devoted most of his passion and focus on tent making, rather than his calling…or being obedient to the heavenly vision. What if he had developed a speaking itinerary on ‘How Yahweh blessed and promoted me in business’ on the side? Like a hobby as opposed to a calling.

If he had we most likely wouldn’t have had approximately half of the New Testament, to which I refer to as my traveling companion. Paul’s epistles I mean.

A few times we see Paul’s conversion detailed in the book of Acts, twice from his own lips. I’m positive he must have recounted this over and over in his preaching and testimonies to the multitudes he shared with. I dare say his own recounting keep the vision before him. His initial encounter with Jesus was confirmed by a disciple, Ananias by name who possibly gave him further instructions not recorded before. The three people groups Paul would be assigned to: the Gentiles, a people group he most likely avoided as a Jew; kings, not your average assignment; and the children of Israel, his own people group with whom he had no small contention with as a Jew and as a Christian.

This was counter intuitive, counter cultural, habit, lifestyle, dietary and possibly personality wise depending on your view of environment vs. heredity. This was a serious assignment, the heavenly vision, or vision dwelling in heaven as one translation puts it. Against the grain of who he was! Every reason to run, hide and just live the status quo…two kids, house with a white picket fence, possibly early retirement from all his successful endeavors. Be a good Christian and not rock the boat or step out of the boat. I could go on and on.

Instead he was ‘not disobedient to the heavenly vision’ and his Holy Spirit inspired works, walk and adventures continue to influence multitudes today. How about you? Do you have a hold of the heavenly vision God has for you? Or is it still dwelling in heaven with your name and resources and challenges and faith opportunities and people groups waiting for you. Or does it not seem to be tailored to your specific desires so you are waiting for the right fit?

Wouldn’t you rather say with Paul, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision?


•August 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Kudos to all that consider themselves youth workers (including parents!!)

•June 29, 2010 • 1 Comment

After 14 years in youth ministry with my husband, I can say I have a little familiarity with teens, young adults and their leaders. I have also considered lately why youth pastor positions are only filled on an average for about 6 months or less. This will be short and…sweet to some.

So, who is this blog for exactly? Anyone who cares.

Dear Youth Pastor,

YOU are not responsible for every teen and young adults problems, especially within the “Christian” homes. However, you may have a huge amount of pressure resting on your shoulders to make a difference. Some pressure may be self-induced and some from the parents that didn’t do their part in raising their children properly. Ouch… You must remind yourself to continue hiding God’s word in your heart, to continue spending quality time with Him and to remember that you are making a difference, if only with one.

Dear Parent,
It is not the church’s responsibility to raise your children, nor the youth pastor. They are also fallible and yet still used by God, much like you, whether you decided to arise to that challenge or not. I am in no way saying that your young adult that wants nothing to do with Christianity is a direct result of you. They are a person of free will and decision-making, BUT your choices surely had something to do with their turnout. If you’re a parent of a teen, make a decision today to handle things differently.

REMINDER: Youth pastors are usually in a position of low pay (or no pay), long hours, less praise and lots of criticism. They, also, are trying to raise their own young families and make the right decisions for them.

Would you like to see a youth pastor position filled in your church or a youth pastor stay longer than 4-6 months? Give them a helping hand, tell them thank you, come in and talk with the youth pastor along with your teen instead of alone. Stop expecting him or her to “fix” your problem.

This situation will not go away since over half of the world’s population is under the age of 21. Anyone who cares should pick a part to play.

Celebrating Lauren’s 4th Birthday

•April 14, 2010 • 2 Comments

This coming Sunday, April 18th, is our daughter, Lauren’s, 4th birthday. Though she is in heaven now, we are still celebrating her life! Please join with us as we raise finances to build a home to shelter at risk mothers and their children on the Thailand/ Burma border.
This particular area is home to Life Impact International. They currently have over 25 school age children and most recently have rescued 4 babies. LaLa’s Gift has been a part of helping to rescue 4 of those children out of sex trafficking in 2009. Now in 2010, the building of a home will enable up to house 4 sets of mothers and their children. We can help do this by raising $15, 000. In order to be a part, please send your donation to LaLa’s Gift PO box 818 Malibu, Ca 90265 or go to www.lalasgift.com

Riches Stored In Secret Places

•February 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By Heather Maust

I tend to be a back row seat person. It’s not that I’m not engaged, so much as I just feel most comfortable there. And let’s face it, when Pastor Scott rounds the two hour mark during the message, as much as I’m enjoying the amazing teaching, it’s nice to be able to sneak some snacks. lol ☺

But recently God told me I’m not allowed to sit in back anymore. I must sit up front. No more of this part way in, it’s time to go all the way in, He said. And here, in this simple act, is where I found why I can quote “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart,” and yet keeping my heart in reserve, never actualize it.

So why the reserve? Why do we not fully engage? You know, bloom where we’re planted? I think we’ve become comfortable in the waiting; comfortable in the training; comfortable in the hope and anticipation of that great destiny to come, that great opportunity, that magnificent promise we’re believing God for, to show it’s face, collide with our path, and wow us with all it’s glory.

So everything in the interim is simply just a rest stop, a gas station, a playground, a school, a restaurant visit or grocery store, and unfortunately for some a hotel to get some shut eye. It is seemingly never your “moment of glory”.

But these ‘riches’ we’re looking for, these treasures we desire, God said they are stored in the darkness, in the secret places.

Isaiah 45:3 “And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.”

Look at these definitions:

What is darkness? That which is obscure, that which is concealed, that which cannot be seen, that which is difficult to understand, threatening, or mysterious.

What is secret? Kept from the knowledge of; designed or working to escape notice, knowledge, or observation; beyond human understanding; hidden; concealed; a mystery; a reason or explanation not immediately or generally apparent.

What I’m realizing is that we miss our ‘riches’, because we’re looking for the riches on the surface, we never dive into the darkness and the secret places to mine them out. To do so will require your heart.

God put a new spin on the verse, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” for me. If your treasure is in the same place as your heart, then I felt like God said where I put my heart in is where I will find my treasure.

Cliff Graham came to speak one Friday and he was talking about what our ‘hard saying’ is. What is the hard thing God might be asking of you? It is here that God exposed yet more of my pride. Do you know what made my ‘hard saying’ hard? It was that it didn’t appear to be that great of a calling compared to what I could come up with. Yep, there it is, my conceit with all its absentee glory.

Scripture says to live a life worthy of the calling you have received and yet so often we try to find a calling worthy of us! Hello! How can we possibly be the judge of what’s worthy if our pride has puffed us up and in reality, apart from Christ deserve only hell? How can we possible discern our riches when they are cloaked in humility and our pride cannot enter?

Yes, humility is the path to being exalted. Humility is what is faithful with the little that leads to the large. Humility is not put off by the darkness or the secret places.
Humility doesn’t need a shortcut.

Ruth picked up leftover crumbs before she was given the field. Joseph put his heart into the prison before he was put in the palace. David was in charge of sheep before he was in charge of a kingdom. Benaiah was mighty with a lion before he was one of David’s mighty men. Esther had to risk her life before she was able to save lives. And Jesus, well, He had to be the servant lamb before the He was the reigning lion.

Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the glory of kings is to search it out.”

And we’re told in 1 Corinthians 4:8 “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings… how I wish you really had become kings…”

So it’s time that we aren’t kings by name only, but that we truly become kings, that we search out that which is concealed, secret, and dark; and by putting our whole heart in, we might discover that what we’ve been wanting has been before us all along.

As Pastor Scott said, “Put your heart in and God will show you where to put your hands.”

So, as one of my favorite sayings says…

No retreat. No reserve. No regret.

2009 UHI video, Thanks friends, family & partners!

•February 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

Act 2:17
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

Graham girl #3 arrived

•January 31, 2010 • 2 Comments

Just in case there are some who may not know, Alexis Sophia Graham was born on January 26th at 9:41 a.m. We thank God for this strong, healthy and beautiful baby girl added to our family!