June 3, 2015

Moving Forward Today

It is a blessed Wednesday here in sunny and semi-hot Phoenix, Arizona! I think our high today is only expected to reach 100, so that is really a blessing. Normally, we are above 100 degrees with day time highs reaching into the 104-106 range during early June. I am looking forward to my trip to Regent on Saturday. I checked the forecast and the weather is expected to be stormy and cool (in the mid-70s). Okay, so not the best for beach weather, but at the least, it is a nice change from sunny and hot!

Today is a good day. I am finishing up my paper for my COM 628 Leadership Theory class, and I am overseeing my team project on Servant Leadership. I pray the Lord sees me through this week, and that He helps me to complete everything I have on my to-do list. I have some other research that I need to finish before Friday, but all in all, I feel confident that I am in a good place today. My Lord has seen to it that I have plenty of time to complete all the tasks, and that I am not too stressed while doing them. God is good. He is so very good to me! Praise be to the Lord of Heaven, He is good, so very good!

As I think about my day today, I am reminded that it has been one month since school ended (at GCU and Regent). I received my fourth contract from ACU yesterday, so that means my schedule is set for teaching in the fall. God is good to provide this extra contract for me, and I am trusting Him that I will be able to manage the workload as I complete my Regent studies.

My schedule for fall looks like this:
  • MWF - Grand Canyon University
  • 12:20-4:30 English Composition I and II (three classes, back to back)
  • TTR - Arizona Christian University
  • 9:00-10:15 Introduction to Communication
I had hoped to have all my courses on MWF so that I could devote my TTR to Regent, but the Lord has allowed this schedule, thus I am trusting Him to see me through it. Fall school begins August 17 (ACU) and August 24 (GCU) and runs through December 11th. Regent classes start on August 24 and run through December 11, 2015 as well. My semester is going to be jam packed, but I know the Lord has me so well covered. He knows what I can and cannot do, and He is prepared to step in and see me through all the assignments, teaching, and advisement tasks that I will have to handle this fall. He is good, so very good to me!

Feeling Out of Sorts

Yes, despite the good progress on my paper and my team project, I am feeling a bit out of sorts today. I haven't been sleeping well, and last night, I had a serious of unpleasant dreams where I woke up panicked. I do not like it when I have these types of dreams, mostly they are nightmares where I experience some type of presence in my dream so that I am frightened. I have been feeling oppressed lately, but yesterday I broke free and I started to feel better. Then, boom!, last night I had this dream and well it disturbed my sleep. I hate it when this happens because I think that is the whole point -- disrupt my sleep -- so that I will be cranky and moody the next day. God is good, of course, and after praying throughout the night, I was able to drift off to sleep and, at the least, rest. I did have several more snippets of dreams, mostly about school and school related work. I also had dreams that involved other people, like young people who were living with me for a time. The previous two nights I dreamed about animals, how I was caring for kittens and puppies, and how these animals were part of my home life. Weird, to say the least.

I believe that the reason I am experiencing these dreams now is that the Lord is preparing me for ministry, and that He is moving me into position now, rather than later. I had thought that I would be involved in ministry (like actually working in it) after I graduated from Regent, but it appears that He is moving now, and that means that I am starting to feel the heat and oppression as I attempt to follow after the Lord's leading. The Lord knows me, and He knows the plans He has for me. He knows what He intends for me to do, and as such, I rest in His care and His comfort. I am trusting the Lord to open a door of opportunity so that I can minister freely, completely, and with boldness and confidence as He directs my steps. I know the plans He has for me are good, and that He will lead me, guide me, and equip me to produce good, good work.

Some ministry opportunities that I have considered in the past have been working in Children's Ministry, serving in Women's Ministry, and helping in Media Ministry. I have been thinking lately that I should do ministry that aligns with my studies at Regent, so Communications. Yet, to do that requires that I either work with websites or with internal church communications. I don't mind doing this kind of work, but I would rather invest in people, teach and mentor and train, people so that they can come to understand the Lord's will for their life. In fact, this is what I want to do most -- to be used to help men, women, and teens realize their God-given potential, their spiritual gifts and calling so that they can become effective workers in God's Kingdom here on earth. Yes, I want to be about people-building, and to do that means that I have to be moved into a position where the Lord uses me to directly influence, encourage, and equip people to serve Him.

I am not sure where I will do this kind of work, but I feel the Lord pressing on me to consider it today. My old church, Paradise, is suffering financially and has some issues (my concern) with ministerial and biblical integrity. I am not happy there, and I have tried for the past 8 months to look beyond the differences, beyond the errors in biblical instruction. I cannot not do this, and I feel that I am not being honest with myself to attend a church where I sit and question every thing that is presented from the pulpit. I am unhappy, and my mood is not lifting whenever I am there. Thus, I have decided that it is time to move, time to go elsewhere, and time to seek a new place for my worship and service to the Lord.

Right now, I don't know where that place is at, but I am asking the Lord to show me soon. I will be gone next week, but I would like to find a place to worship come the following Sunday. I would like to know that there is place for me by the time I return from Regent University.

I have considered the following churches recently:
  • Scottsdale Bible Church (Multisite campuses)
  • Harvest Bible Chapel
  • Calvary Chapel (32nd Street)
I am most familiar with SBC because I attended there with my family from 1996 to 2008. My son attends there and is active in the worship ministry. My ex-husband also attends there, which has been problematic for me, only in the fact that I see him with his girlfriend each Sunday morning. It shouldn't bother me, but it does, and I find it a distraction. SBC has some satellite campuses, with one next to ACU (about 10 minutes away). I may visit the Cactus campus and try it out, just to see if I like the music. The video feed comes in from the main campus so I would know I would be getting quality Bible teaching each Sunday. The other campus is fairly new, and I have thought about visiting it and supporting it since it is a start up community.

Harvest Bible Chapel is supposedly a solid Bible church. I have heard good things about it, but they are very conservative, and I don't know how they would feel about a divorced person serving in ministry. I am sure if the Lord chose to send me there, He would provide a place of service and ministry for me.

Calvary Chapel has two locations here in Phoenix. One is their main campus, which is a megachurch and about 30 minutes away, and the other is smaller in size and within 5-10 minutes of where I live. I have never really attended a Calvary Chapel before, but I like their emphasis on the Word, and the fact that they have a smaller church near me.

As I think about where to worship, I am reminded that what matters most is my heart. I am to worship the Lord, and not seek worldly entertainment or personal preference in leaders. The goal is to attend a church where I can be plugged into service, worship the Lord, receive teaching from the Word, and freely minister to all who the Lord brings to me. I understand this, but in this day and age, it is vital to understand that many Christian churches do not preach the Word of God. No, they preach a worldly message that is laced with postmodern philosophy, the kind of philosophy that says there is no "absolute truth." I am aware of this fact, and I hear the strains of a postmodern worldview as the Pastor or leadership attempt to preach from the Word. There is a sense of inclusiveness that says that no matter how a person behaves -- we are to love and enfold them -- because this is what Christ would do. I get this, and I support loving unconditionally, but I think this means to love our Christian brothers and sisters, and not the world (seek the lost, but not love the ungodly who happily live in sin). I struggle with this approach that places love above the Word of God. We are called to love as John instructed, but we are also called to live holy lives. I am concerned that we have replaced holiness with an all out love-fest for ungodliness. It shouldn't be this way, and I find that approach to be an offense to the Word of God.

Update - Tonight

Well, I have made good progress on my paper, but I am short 300 words! Yowzee! How did that happen? I am usually the one who runs over length. I guess I was so worried about doing that with this paper that I constrained myself so that I wouldn't have to edit too much. I am pretty beat right now, so tomorrow I will have to finish my paper and complete my PPT, which is due on Friday. I also have to complete all my research for my email update for my professor. I know the Lord has me covered so I am good right now, at the least, I am saying it is so. Make it so, Lord! Make it so, Lord!

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