Testimony

A Peace of Me

ImageSo much has happened in the last couple months.  It’s been wonderful. Many friendships have been made and God has shown up in so many different ways.  We are in the full swing of living in 400 sq ft of space with lots of toys and kids full of energy.  I have found that by downsizing dishes, they don’t pile up as high. By having a small washer, loads are more often, but much smaller, so I actually keep up (well, most of the time).  The kids have their beds that still aren’t always made, but they have curtains to close them off.  We basically live in one big room.  We are still adjusting to putting toys away because they can take over in this space.  But it’s an amazing freedom to be able to come and go as the Lord leads, to stay somewhere for a while or just a few days. The funny thing is, when we lived in a home we were content in the same place, but once you get mobile, after about 3 weeks the flesh gets a little antsy to move somewhere new.  Our perspectives of life have changed a lot.

The kids couldn’t be happier.  We ask them very often about this journey and God has moved in their hearts and they just love it.  Our family is closer than ever. The kids play so well together and when they have arguments, they have to work it out. There is no where to run and pout.  This works for Joe and I too.  You are really forced to communicate.

We have had so many wonderful experiences and the kids have seen so many things.  Life has become our schoolroom.  They don’t just learn about things in a book. They get to see, feel, and experience them.  God has blessed us and them with so many amazing friendships.  We have often been asked about socialization of the kids, but they have more friends now then we ever did at home and the amount of time they get to play and explore exceeds the time we did this at our sticks and bricks.  They have learned how to make friends and not be afraid to talk to people, and so have we J

These past few months God has been teaching us a lot when it comes to ministering and teaching.  See, we are kind of off the grid.  We don’t go from church to church, we aren’t well known.  We just love people and want to go where they are. So many will never set foot into a church building, but still need to know about the goodness of God.  Back in January, I was praying to have eyes to see people the way God does.  He spoke so clearly to me and said, “You cannot love people unconditionally until you stop seeing them as being better or worse than yourself.”  WOW! I meditated on this for a while and God began to show me how when I judge another as “needing help” or “worse than” me (for whatever reason) that I set myself into a place of pride.  It’s showed me my love for them was based on me wanting to “fix” them. And if I judged another as “better than” or their ministry as “better than”, I began seeking them and not the father.  I began to love them for what they can help me with or give me.  But the truth is, God loves every one of us the same. He doesn’t love one better than another! His love for us IS UNCONDITIONAL!  We must let him show us that we are all equal in his sight, so we too must see others the same way.  But we can only do this by allowing Him to show us.  I began to weep as I saw people with his eyes.  People whom he loves and desires to have a relationship with, but many preoccupy their time with the things of this world, why?  Because they have never experienced His goodness. It’s the goodness of God that draws a man to repentance.  Not me pointing out their sins. Just yesterday God showed me that since Gods spirit dwells in us, we are to be a light. And it’s the light that exposes the darkness, not us pointing out the darkness.  We spend so much time focusing on what’s wrong with others, problems with the government, what everyone is doing wrong, that we forget to just abide in the father and bear HIS fruit.  To let him shine through us and his spirit expose the darkness.  We just go and share Gods goodness, one person at a time wherever he leads.  We love others.  Many are struggling with sin and “secret sins” but me telling them its wrong doesn’t help them overcome.  But, to share His goodness and that He is there to help them through it and loves them regardless.  This is what draws them to repent and submit, so the Spirit can lead them into all Truth. 

We have encountered some of the most amazing people.  You just never know who God is going to bring.  We may be parked next to someone who doesn’t have much and on the other side a family of millionaires.  Walls that are normally put up by neighborhoods are taken down and God just does powerful things.  We have met many amazing families and life long friends. We have seen people healed, we have seen others not healed.  We have seen God move so powerfully that we are in tears.  God has blessed us financially and other times we get down to our last pennies and an almost empty fridge.  But we have never missed a meal and God has always come through.  This is still a time of learning for us.  I have begun to see that when there is money in the bank, there is joy and a peace, we have meals for others, give away money as he leads, we feel free.  When there isn’t money in the bank, we get irritable, frustrated, doubt, the peace is gone.  So what does this show me?  That money is the source of my peace… NOT God!  Can anyone else relate?  But when you put yourself in a position like this, where its God or nothing, it helps to work through this.  So we look to Him and he always provides, but my heart is exposed.  Philippians 4:7 (AMP) says “And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothng from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  So when my heart is only content when there is money, it shows what I truly trust and rely on. What I look to for peace.  But God wants to give us a peace even greater than that. He wants us to rely on Him for this.  He is the provider and even when things look low, he wants us to rest and have perfect peace knowing He will come through.  This is a huge lesson and a big root in my heart he is trying to uplift. 

This journey is amazing. I want to encourage everyone to be willing spend time with the Lord. LET him give you a heart like His. LET him love you.  Then you won’t be able to help but to go and love those around you, because his love will overflow in your hearts and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So often we try to go “into ministry” but we need to remember relationship with God comes first! Love you all!

 

Advertisements

Finding Rest

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I hadn’t felt a release to write.  A lot has happened in the last (almost) 40 days. We have been close to running out of gas, low on funds, we have seen relationships restored, people brought back to God, healings, and also a lot of quiet prayer time, as if we have been out in the wilderness.  But regardless of our circumstances, we have realized that God will come through even if its not the way we think He should or in the way we are “believing” for.  God is a God of the miraculous and we have testimonies of things we have seen God do, so I can’t deny this, but He is also one that pursues our hearts.  God wants our motives pure and a relationship with each of us.  So as I asked what I should share. And rather than share all the stories in detail, I have felt as if God wanted me to share my heart and what I have been challenged with.

As we pulled into South   Carolina, we had just been though a huge trial.  We were very low on gas and almost out of money.  We had been seeking the Father and learning about grace and faith and how the two were tied together. We were believing for the miraculous, God to fill the tank with gas and the needle to just jump.  But when that didn’t happen in that way, we were a little shook up and needless to say doubt, questions, etc began to flood our hearts.  But through a series of events, God provided in great ways.  As we pulled into our destination in South Carolina, we began looking inward and asking God to reveal to us what was going on.  He showed us that this journey is again about REST.  He exposed our hearts in how when something didn’t happen the way WE expected, doubt flew to the surface. This trial exposed some hidden doubt I didn’t realize was there, but God did. He wants more than anything to see us sanctified as we go, because this is sometimes the only way the “guck” comes to the surface, but we have to be willing to let God show us what that “guck” is so we can let Him take it from us. But God showed us how He did provide.  This taught me a lot.  Because I started to see that true “faith” IS “Rest”.  I relax because I know the father and regardless of our circumstances and what it looks like, He will come through.  I “let go”.

So after all of this, God told us to WAIT.  Someone offered to pay for a months stay here in South Carolina and so we took that as confirmation to WAIT.  This is where we have been.  God has done some amazing things and we have made some wonderful new friends that have kids and travel too.  We have been having fun, campfires, clamming, riding bikes, talking to people from various parts of the world, but most importantly, we have had some wonderful quiet times with the Lord.  But at times, it feels as if He has been silent.  This silence makes me anxious, because of the feeling I need to be “doing”.  But it is about REST.  One night, I was praying, because I just felt like I was reading the bible searching for something, but I didn’t know what that something was or what to even look at.  So I put the bible down and just said, “God, you have been teaching us a lot about grace, faith, and rest, but something is missing.”  The next thing I heard was “humbleness”.  Wow, a light bulb went on in my head.  I began finding all the scriptures on being humble, meekness, and lowering ourselves.  Rather than “teach” on this, I encourage any of you as God leads to look these scriptures up and see what God shows you. The more we get ourselves out of the way, the more God can flow through us. Less of us, MORE of Him…This is faith, totally put our life and all we do, in Him.  You see, I thought I “had faith”, I thought if I believe enough, or say all the right things then things will happen.  But what I am finding is it really is relational. Its trusting him even through the trials, because it exposes our weaknesses so He can remove them.  Before, if a trial came, I questioned my “faith”.  Now I see my hidden pride, weaknesses, and as He takes them away, we become transformed and our hearts purified. Its beautiful.

So, we leave on November 26th, and where too, I don’t know yet. But I know God will direct us and continue to transform us which will reflect into those we meet. I am excited!


The Waiting

Waiting is one of the hardest things to do even when you know something wonderful is around the corner.  It has now been 2 months since we were blessed with this camper and started getting rid of what we had.  We visited my family and when we returned the home was empty and we decided to go ahead and list the home with a realtor.  We were so ready to go.  However, God still had plans for us here.  A family who didn’t have a place to live came and stayed in our empty home.  “Ah, so this is why the home didn’t sell…” God is funny… we think we have our plans laid out and boom, he knows the needs of someone else and needs you to help.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  They stayed for about a month and they just left yesterday.  Through this visit, I learned a lot.  I saw how my life and my desires were truly being laid down for another.  This exposed a lot within me. I saw my selfishness, my lack of trust at times in the Lord, but also how I was OK with not knowing what was coming next and the fun and freedom of seeing God at work without my “agenda” and knowing He was leading it.

Then, I had to go to the bank and we pulled into the drive thru…BUT…the new truck didn’t fit.  So, I had to back it up and go around and park to go in.  I was slightly annoyed (let’s just be honest here). Parked the car, left Joe and the kids, and went in.  I started talking to the teller and the next thing I knew God was just moving. He encouraged her and we had an amazing conversation.  And the coolest part was everything just flowed.   As I think about the journey to come, there are times I get a little anxious knowing people are going to have expectations as they follow our journey.  I begin to think, “What am I going to say?”….”How will I know who to talk to?”….”Can I mess up?”  But this encounter was a huge encouragement to me, that we interact with people everywhere we go.  And I just knew what to say and it just flowed.  The Lord is with us wherever we go and if we are truly seeking Him, we can be at rest knowing He will direct our paths, even when it seems a little inconvenient.

We are in a strange stage of life right now.   All of my worldly “securities”, besides a place to sleep, are gone.  No Job, No income, No knowing where we will be tomorrow, No comprehension of the future, etc.  This is enough to make any of us “freak out”…but to be honest, God has moved me into such a place of peace that I cannot truly explain.  Almost like a child that has to truly depend on their parents for all their needs.  We have removed all outside securities and distractions so we have no choice but to depend on the Father and amazingly I am OK with this.  For once in my life, I am not in control and I have to say it’s kind of nice. The pressure is off and it really is in Gods hands.  So many times in my life I have said, “Well, it’s in Gods Hands.” Yet I would continue to toil and do everything I could to make things “happen”. I would say it was God, but then I would still wonder if it was God or if it was the 100 phone calls I made (well maybe not 100 but you get my point).  So now, we sit in the drive way, house empty AGAIN, wondering what He is going to do next.  Do we leave before we sell the house? Or do we live in the driveway because we still have things to do here?  Only God knows and we will continue to pray and seek Him.  Its exciting to see how He will show up next.


The wifes walk :)

So I wanted to share whats been going on from the wifes perspectve because t seems like most ministries are done by men and sometimes its nice to hear the other side 🙂

So, a little background on me.  I am a very logical, think things through, engineer. I have always had a plan for everything. I set goals and went after them. I enjoy organizing events and being IN CONTROL.  I like to be in the “know” with whats going on and for some reason I always like to share MY ideas and opinions even if they weren’t asked for…(something God is still working on me with). Maybe some of you can relate, maybe not 🙂 

Ever since Joe and I married back in 2003, I have been in control of our finances.  When Joe started his own business, I still handled that side of it.  Why? Because it was my way of holding some control over the business and making sure we had money to live on (I am just being honest with you all).  If money was tight, I would nag Joe. Ask when the next job was, if we didnt’ have anything, I would hint around that He needed to be out selling. But Joe always said God is our provider. My response is, yes he is, BUT YOU need to get the word out there about your business.  So in other words, I was looking to Joe and NOT God.  The arguments, stress, frustrations, were all because I couldn’t rest in knowing the Father God as my provider and would take care of us. 

Over the years,  I started seeing how God really would come through for us in a pinch.  God began to grow my faith. I would see it happen, praise the father, then go right back to worrying.  I was happy when money was in the bank and a mess when it wasn’t. 

But we began ministering on the streets together.  We would go out and just ask people if we could pray with them.  We would sometimes get clues of who we were looking for and we would find them and pray.  We started seeing how many ideas we had from reading the scripture, when put into practice, gave us a different result and when we got back into the Word, God would show us how it aligned with His Word but had been hidden from us. But in the end, it was all about Love. Showing people His love for them and that He does care about each of us. 

The business did very well last year. But our biggest joy and fulfillment came from ministering and talking to people everywhere we went. In January of this year, the business STOPPED.  No phone calls, no quotes, nothing.  Joe would go door to door at businesses and no responses.  For the first time in 9 years, absolutely nothing.  I would get upset with Joe and with God.  My faith would waiver, is this real? But as I looked within, I could see that all my frustration revealed a very large amount of doubt toward God.  I could say all the right things, but when the pressure was on, my peace and rest was too. You see God is a jealous God and truly wants us to be completely reliant on Him alone. When our peace is gone, we need to look within and ask Why? This will reveal the condition of our heart. 

So after a couple months of asking God what to do and still no calls, (however, our bills continued to get paid, somehow)   Joe says to me, we put all this effort into our business. We toil,we spend day and night working for the world, chasing finances to live the american dream. Then, IF we have time after dinner and bed,we go and do Gods work. Sure we minister sometimes on the job, but who are we serving? God tells us we can’t have two masters. We can’t serve God and Mammon.  So, I think we just need to start ministering full time and trust God to provide. I see it all through scripture. Instead of working for ourselves,let just work for God.  Joe tells me He thinks its time for us to get our “ice cream truck”.

I had been seeking God and my heart really wanted to do this, but my mind and logic of this was screaming in my head that this was crazy.  I began to really pray more and seek the scriptures because I truly believe in the unity and power between a husband and a wife.  I also agree in a woman supporting her husband, but I also believe there is a unity of the Spirit.  So if this is what God was calling us to, then my spirit needed to have rest and peace with this decision because Joe and I are one and are meant to minister as one.  But I still had trust issues. 

I remember one night laying in bed and I asked God to speak to me and give me something so I would know this is the right decision.  I rolled over and right before I fell asleep I heard God speak to my heart and say “NO, I won’t give you anything” He asked me if I believed Joe was seeking Him. I did. God told me He wanted me to trust Joe. So he wasn’t going to give me a sign or tell me anything, because he wanted me to learn submission to Joe and to trust him.  This honestly took me a little time to digest.  This meant I wasn’t going to be in-control.  That I wasn’t going to be in “the know”.  I had to trust.

Well, I have been.  This journey so far this year has been just that. Learning to truly trust and find a place of peace and rest in the Father.  A few weeks later, Joe and I truly felt a desire to start selling/giving things away. So we started with some of the bigger things we didn’t use much. As they sold, I began to question again.God,what are we doing? Is this really what you want?  What happens if it all sells and we have nothing? As I read the bible, just knew in my heart this was the right thing. But how are we going to afford an RV and pay off debt?  TRUST!  So we continued to walk in obedience selling things.  I became at total peace and rest knowing God was handling it.  That there wasn’t anything I could do to make any of this dream happen, but if it was what He wanted, t would happen.  A week later, we were given the truck and camper (you can read about those if you haven’t already on the other posts).  So now, I just walk, day by day.  My ideas and plans have been laid down and I can say that I have found a peace and rest.  The home is on the market and God will sell it when its time.  All I know is that by this house not selling yet, we have met some incredible people. We have shared Jesus with many and God has kindled a new desire for a relationship with Him in the hearts of some. So the ministry has started and we haven’t left our driveway 🙂


The Time is Now! (Ice Cream Dream Continued)

A couple of years ago my family and I started ministering in the streets and learning to listen to God for direction. Every Tuesday we would gather together with others that had a hunger to set people free, we all grew together learning to walk as Jesus walked, it was an awesome time with many amazing testimonies which I may share later. Reading the Bible and learning is good but when we start doing His word and walking with Him is when we really get to know who God is. During this time we started thinking about going mobile, living out of a camper showing His love and teaching others to do the same. Starting love fires and then moving on to the next place to start another.

At that point that’s when God revealed to us that the mobile ministry was His plan from the beginning. After all it was an ice cream truck not an ice cream store (see the dream here).

Fifteen years have past since I had my Ice Cream Dream. I often wondered if  I had missed it, was there somewhere along the way that I had messed up my calling and gotten off track? I had tried several times to make it happen on my own and everytime was good but nothing like the dream I had. Over the past year I would ask God many times if I had missed it, if somehow I had made a wrong choice and missed my call. I write this to encourage you, God does have a destiny for you, you have a calling and you know it in your heart. Maybe He’s already revealed it and you are in waiting or maybe you just feel it in your gut. The good news is you haven’t missed it, rest in Him.

You haven’t missed it. You can’t!

As I began to seek God on this subject He lead me to two stories in the Bible. The first is the story where Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat (Mark 4 and Luke 8) because “we’re going to the other side”. Mid way across the lake a great storm comes upon the boat and their boat started taking on water, the disciples came to Jesus and said “do you not care that we’re going to die?” the disciples didn’t realize that they had a destiny, God, who can not lie, had spoken over them that they were going to the other side. Nothing could stop it from happening, they could have gotten out of the boat and swam in the midst of that mess. If they knew who had spoken this destiny over them they would have been just as rested as Jesus was.

The next story He lead me to was the story of Jonah, where God had told him that he was going to the city of Nineveh. Jonah had a calling on his life and though he didn’t want to fulfill it, it was inevitable, he had a destiny. However, Jonah’s rebelion lead him in the opposite direction onto a boat that was thrown and tossed by the storms to the point that the rest of the passengers decided to throw him overboard expecting him to drown. Jonah had a destiny that had to be fulfilled and so God sent the fish to carry him to his destination where Jonah would finally yeild to his calling.

As crazy as it may sound to some people, due to what God was telling us and a few other “signs” we decided it was time to get rid of everything we own and advance to the next stage of our lives in a camper on the road. Nothing in the worldly sense would say go, we had a large chunk of debt and a few other things that would appear to be setbacks. God has shown us that we are not to depend upon money as our provider, He will take care of us. My wife said at one point this would be much easier if we had a camper setting out front, though we didn’t know how, we knew that He would handle it.

A few weeks later I was at a good client/friend of mine, C.J.’s house working on his surveillance system, which was our family business. I was telling C.J. about how I was no longer going to be handling the business but if he had any problems he could always give me a call and I would try to help as much as I could over the phone. He asked why and I began to tell him that my family and I were going into fulltime ministry, we were selling everything and buying a truck and camper. I finished up my work as he was asking me more questions about the ministry. I had to come back a few days later because his system ended up needing some replacement parts, as I was installing he asked a few more questions about the ministry and told me about his heart for the youth then to my suprise he told me that he was giving us his truck and camper to live in!

He took me out to give me the tour and I was in shock. It is beyond anything we ever could have imagined but here’s the most amazing part. C.J. and his wife own a business that builds tour buses for major celebrities and musicians, the camper and truck he gave us was listed on his website as the movie trailer, it was used for actors and workers to rent and is named MOVIE 1.

Just like the dream God gave me fifteen years ago…

Just like the dream had us in a brilliant white ice cream truck with a movie place in the back handing out God’s treat free of charge in a way that people were hungry for it. Now we have a brilliant white truck with a movie place in the back and the next step is to get on the road and start handing it out! Ha! God is amazing!

Currently we are down to the last few steps of emptying the house with a For Sale by Owner sign out front just waiting for Him to lead us to the next step. Through it all He has taught us to rest in Him and enjoy His grace, it is sufficient for every need, ours and yours, the treat that is free of charge.

Now go! Be the funnel!


The Ice Cream Dream

I suppose I should start by telling you my dream I had about fifteen years ago…

I dreamed that my dad gave me an ice cream truck, it was falling apart, old, rusty, and the tires were dry rotted and flat. The truck was parked right outside of a big old barn and I was so excited that it was now mine. I started putting my effort into fixing it up and when I was done it was a brilliant white, and looked like brand new.

I then put on the “back in the day” ice cream man attire, white slacks, white button down, and the white ice cream man hat. I drove it out to the street and immediately people started swarming to get the treats we were offering, and the treats we were offering were completely free. There were people as far as I could see crammed between the houses excited to get the treats that we were offering and I was handing them out effortlessly with a big grin on my face.

After all this I thought maybe the food I had eaten the night before had kicked in because the next thing that happened was a door located on the back of the ice cream truck and I was letting people in, inside was a big movie theater. I had always thought that was me taking over the dream, I recently found out otherwise as I’ll explain in a later post.

When I woke from my sleep, the first person I told was my mother. I said “God’s going to give me an ice cream truck!” then I explained my dream. She said you need to ask God for the interpretation, so I did, and He gave it to me. My dad had a ministry when I was younger, it was a coffee house, and the ministry had been laying dormant for a while. Now it was being given to me and God was going to use it!

The following Sunday I went to my usual church service, a small country church in Georgetown. Every Sunday the pastor would ask if anyone needed prayer and I would always go up front to ask for a closer relationship with God. However, this particular Sunday someone had a vision and spoke over me that they saw me in ministry through which God was going to use me and it was going to be wonderful!

After service I told them about the dream I had had and the pastor said “I don’t know if it’s me or God but they are having a youth rally in Florence Saturday and I feel like you should go” so I told him I would. Saturday finally rolls around and I was not at all wanting to go but due to my commitment, I went. I sat all the way in the back of the church and shortly into the service I felt a strange sensation in my spirit, it was in my stomach and I prayed “Lord, I feel this strange feeling in my stomach, it’s like a turning, like a hunger, like a churning, what is it?” and right after the words left my lips the pastor up front said “There’s someone here that has a strange feeling in there stomach, like a turning, like a hunger, like a churning, come up here God wants to bless you” of course I knew that was me so without hesitation I went to the front and the pastor walked over to me, raised his hand to place it on my head to pray, but then stopped and backed up, he then had the youth crowd around me and had them to all pray. It was very encouraging and another sign of what God had planned for me.

In my spirit I knew it wasn’t time, though I tried to make it happen on my own. I became a youth leader and though it was good, it wasn’t effortless, it lacked the freedom I felt in the dream, it wasn’t time…