Friday, October 22, 2010

All I Asked For Was A Painting...

(Yes, I know I keep goofing around with the design on this blog - bear with me.  It's still not quite "me" - I'm looking for a blend of quirkiness and depth that I haven't discovered yet!  Until then, feel free to post your opinions and suggestions.  ^_^)

My good friend Marla is an artist.  She is AMAZING.  There is just something compelling on her art; it makes me want to stare and stare and stare.

I've been lusting after a piece of her artwork for about a year now, so two weeks ago, I asked her to make something for me!  She very obligingly said yes, I bought a big canvas and some paints, and she started work!  When she asked me what I wanted, I knew exactly what to request.

All of Marla's artwork is born from some place deep in her heart, deep in her soul.  When she paints, it's like a sacred moment is captured; suspended in acrylic, it haunts and beckons.  It's truly a lovely thing.

So what I wanted, what I requested, was an encounter painting.

Now before, I go on, please, if you're a skeptic, I understand.  Believe me.  This is not some TV evangelist's blog; I'm not shaking you down for a buck.  I'm really just recording my experience and sharing something precious and frail with the undefined "reader".  At this moment in time, I know the readers are mostly my family, and I am deeply grateful for this fact.  When the day comes that you, reader, are not genetically related to me, please look on this account with kindness and generosity - as though it was your sister who was writing.  This is not meant to persuade or convince; just simply to share.

Continuing on - what is an encounter painting?  In Bethel lingo, an encounter is an experience with God that is outside of human machinations.  We may ask for Him to come - He decides how, when, what, and where we go.  Some people see things with their physical eyes, most see things with the eyes of their imaginations, some people have vivid night dreams, and some experience all three.  No matter how dramatic, or how non dramatic these events may be, they are all classified as encounters.

I wanted a piece of artwork that released as well as invited an experience with God.  Tall order, right?  =)  If you saw Marla's art, you would understand why I felt confident in my request.  And from the beginning, it seemed that the request was actually in alignment with what God wanted for me, because not only did I have two dreams about the painting before I ever saw it, but Marla also had a dream about the painting, and God actually woke her up at 3 in the morning to give her more specifics about how it should look!

And it's funny, the painting she created for me is completely unlike any other painting she has done so far.  It's different in style and simplicity.  But, my goodness, this painting SPEAKS.  (Yes, I'll be uploading a picture as soon as possible!)

From here on out, I'm just going to record what happened.  Yesterday, I picked up my baby - aptly named "Dreams".  It is a black background, with horizontal slashes of color across.  I brought it home as quickly as I could and immediately hung it over my bed.  I went to sleep last night thinking about the colors, and even seeing the colors pop out at me in my head.

It was funny, last night was actually a really bad night of sleep.  I woke up like three different times, and when I first got up this morning, I didn't remember any of my dreams.  But as I readied myself for the day, the first dream I had last night came pouring back!

I dreamed I was in my bed, and I was laying on my back looking up.  Around the perimeter of my vision, I could see several forms - it was like many people standing over me in my bed.  And somehow, I knew they were angels, even though I couldn't make out their faces.  And as I recognized that they were angels, it was so funny!  I heard God say (and I knew it was God), "This is the first encounter!!"

^_^  I am very, very excited about this painting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day One in the Healing Rooms

The day started out with me running around the house - I woke up a half hour before I was supposed to leave!  Arrgg.  Drives me nuts.  They told us in our classes that we should always be early to our outreach (which we call "Activation"), a practice that I fully support and fully intended to follow every week.  But, this morning, I needed to wash my hair BADLY. 

So I'm slapping on my makeup and making sure to brush my teeth really well (nothing worse than someone's beast breath in your face while you're receiving prayer!) and all the while trying not to stress out.  I did NOT want to be late.

It just didn't feel like the morning was setting me up for a good day.  But on the drive, as I breathed prayer to God, I just felt Him remind me that I could trust Him.  That I didn't have to be perfect for the day to go well and for good things to happen!

And boy, was He right!

Since I've just started in the healing rooms, my name tag has a yellow dot on it.  I can't pray by myself for people just yet, I have to pray with a person who has a green dot.  Green dots are like the "seniors", they can pray for anyone they want by themselves.  I was actually quite happy to be a yellow dot - I like working in teams!

I was teamed up with my friend Steven who is from Australia.  He is such an amazing guy!  He really has such a father's heart, so he really looked out for me, and made me feel confident. 

I asked God to give me His eyes for people, to help me to really see how He loves them.  Right away, I felt a shift.  I wasn't worried about performing anymore - it was just seeing people, seeing who they were, and being present with them in the moment.  Being available, and being moved by His love for them.  Man, we had some truly incredible people come in! 

Just a couple of testimonies
~ Steven and I prayed for this little old lady who happened to be Asian.  She was suffering from arthritis in her knees; she could barely bend her knees, and when she did there was all this cracking and popping and pain.  We prayed for her one time and nothing seemed to happen.  Then prayed again, and asked her to walk three feet and come back to us - all the pain left!  She could bend her knees without pain, without popping!  She had full mobility back!  Haha!
 ~  My friend Angie (another green dot and also one of my roommates) and I prayed for a lady who had shoulder pain.  She described it as a sharp pain that she felt whenever she moved her arm or tried to lift anything.  After the first prayer, she was already feeling better.  After the second, she was swinging her arm around and said it was completely better! 
~ Other people had testimonies of people who had hearing loss completely restored, lung and breathing problems improved and healed, several people received healing of back pain from car accidents - and this is just the tip of the iceberg!  There must have been five hundred people there today, and testimonies were plentiful!

Such a good day.  The best thing about today was how easy it was.  There was no pressure, no pushing, no striving.  He was just there, and He showed up as Love. 

There is a song by United Pursuit Band that perfectly captures today's feel.    It's called "Believe" and I highly recommend it!  The chorus says, "I believe He loves me.  I believe He loves me.  I believe He loves me, and that's all I need to know.  That's all I need to know."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fremont, Vallejo, and San Francisco - My first ministry trip!!!

Wow, what a trip!!!  God was so good!

We drove caravan style down to Fremont, CA on Friday.  The church we ministered at was called Harvest House, and interestingly enough the pastor's wife is Bill Johnson's sister!  Cool, right?  The trip was fun, since I got to ride with my friend Petra and see some of the sights.  I haven't had much of an opportunity to see many places besides Sacramento.

The first day, we ministered at the night service.  It was my first time prophesying over people through poetry!  Wow, what an experience.  The first lady I wrote for was really funny - I totally thought I was just adding some random part to the poem about how God loves to watch her graceful hands!  But then, she told me she was a sign language teacher!!  HAHA!!!  Others on the team were singing over people, dancing over people, and making prophetic pictures for people.  Everyone was so nice and it was a lot of fun to see God work in such unusual ways!

That night, I found out where I'd be staying for the duration of our trip.  A really cool lady named Teresa Goines heads up a youth run supper club called "Old Skool Cafe" and I got to stay in her house!  It is located in downtown San Francisco, and it overlooks the whole city!!  I felt so spoiled; they made us homemade granola and blueberry kuchen, and one of the other girls had some gourmet coffee she shared with us!  I'd fix my breakfast every morning, go out onto the balcony, and watch the city wake up!  So awesome!

On Saturday, I helped out with two different workshops.  The first one was "How to release Healing through the Arts".  Did you know that God can heal someone through a painting?  Or through a dance?  We had several testimonies of people being healed through art!  How cool is that?  We shared testimonies and prayed for people, and then we had everyone make their own art.  Three different people with leg problems got healed, someone with sciatica got healed, and a woman who had been suffering from a variety of ailments was completely healed.  Woohoo!!! 

The second workshop was called "Arts in Worship" and we just activated people in painting while worship was going on.  That was SOOOO FUN!!  I got to pray over people while they were painting, encourage some people who were shy, and interpret their paintings when they were done!  So cool!  I met this really nice girl - her paintings were amaaaazing.  She was really, really gifted!  At the end, everyone showed their art, and everyone else said what they saw in the painting.  This was totally my favorite workshop!

That night, I did more poetry - but this time it was supposed to be for a specific person and be a healing poem.  I don't know how successful I was at the poem being healing - since it ended up picking out the same person that my friend prayed for!  But, that's a story that needs more detail for sure! 

My friend Mike is a dancer - very proficient at popping and locking!  Haha, he is a treat to watch.  But on Saturday night there was an older lady who was locked up with arthritis and really couldn't move.  She had a walker, but she attended the workshop he taught because she loved dancing when she was younger.  She ended up coming up for prayer during the evening service, and she asked Mike to dance for her.

While he was dancing, God healed her!!!  She got up and was able to dance!  Haha!  We were in AWE!  Amazing, right?  God is so fun!

Sunday we changed venues since the conference was over.  We drove to Vallejo and visited a church there called NorthBay Foursquare Church.  Honestly, I think I liked this church the best.  As soon as we arrived, I thought it was going to be old fashioned - but it was so nice!  The building was very old fashioned, but they had updated certain rooms of the church; the overall effect was like a really loving family house!  Some rooms were old fashioned and comfortable, and some were up to date for the kids! 

We met out on their back porch which overlooked the whole city!  When our team was ready to pray together before going in and joining the church, the whole church staff came outside and so earnestly prayed for us, I got teary.  It was so kindhearted and loving!  This church was so awesome. 

We got to do art during worship and I did more poetry.  My poem was supposed to go with one of the paintings, and I think it fit pretty well.   I'll have to copy down a couple of the things I did so you can see.

I really loved this whole trip!  I had such an amazing time - prophesied over so many people which is always fun, and got to form relationships which will last.  God is so good!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's On My Heart

Ok, so I wanted to just post something that has nothing to do with school and everything to do with the burnings of my heart.

I have a friend (Marla) in second year that I've known since last year - and she is amazing. Marla is a mother and a wife, and is extremely prophetic and extremely mature, but she's also creative, zany, and free. I love her. I feel like God put her in my life as someone to learn from and be accountable to. She really speaks into my life.

Anyway, Marla has been pursuing music more and more recently with really powerful results. I got to go over to her house and listen to the most recent song she's written, and I was a crying mess by the end of the song! It was so poignant, and strong, and it spoke directly to your heart; I really loved it.

The funny thing was, listening to the song woke something up in my heart. I really felt like God showed me something that He's doing in the earth right now.

I feel like there are people in the music industry who were created to be worshipers of God like the world has never seen before. I feel like they have an anointing in their voice to touch hearts and move souls - and unfortunately, right now, they are kind of drifting out there. I feel like they don't know what they're doing, don't know why they aren't satisfied with their lives, just feel a hole.

And I keep seeing God releasing a sound into the world through people who know Him now and have been faithful to Him and in love with Him for years. I feel like God is going to release a sound into the world that will wake up the sleepers and remind them of the One who knew them before they were born.

I feel like these are people who were meant to gaze on His face with the eyes of their hearts - they have access to a place of intimacy with Him that is so sweet. I feel like He doesn't really care where they are right now - He just sees them, believes in them, and loves them. Wants them back.

When these worshipers awake, they won't know why they can't stop listening to particular songs on the radio, why they lie awake at night with their hearts burning, why they are suddenly feeling full of power and strength, but have lost interest in the things that held them captivated before.

And when they are fully found by Him, I feel like the place of intimacy that they'll lead the body of Christ to will be mind-blowing! I'm so excited!

This has been burning in my heart for the last two weeks. I keep thinking about it and praying over it. If this speaks to you, I invite you to pray with me! Daydream with God about it - watch as He shows you how cool it's going to be! Good things are comin'!

Love ya!!
Sam

Retreat, Prophetic Words, and Activation!!

Hey Everyone,

I just got back from retreat a few days ago. My revival group (Theresa Dedmon's revival group) went to the Chico YWAM base with two first year revival groups, and we had a fabulous time! It was so cool to be able to invest in first year students!

The first day, I took part in welcoming the first year students. We had booths set up around the lobby where they could get prophetic art and prophetic words, and we had a big fire tunnel as they came in! Everyone was excited and very talkative as we got in and settled.

The YWAM staff was amazing - they cooked all our meals and cleaned up after us, and just blessed our socks off. It's so humbling to be served like that by another "Body part". We have a large percentage of students who come out of YWAM and they seem to be really on fire people!

The night sessions were super intense both nights. The first night, Theresa Dedmon spoke about the Father's love. The second night, Crystal Stiles (a first year revival pastor and a FIREBRAND!!!) spoke about being a daughter and not working for God. Great teaching both nights. The other cool thing was when they released their interns to prophesy over the entire audience. Some sang over us, some danced, some had prophetic words, others had words of encouragement - it was just cool all the way around.

So yeah, retreat was super great!! I loved just about every minute of it. I got to prophesy over probably about 10 people, with really good feedback. Also met some amazing people too. There was one lady who'd been in ministry for like twenty years, and she and her husband have a ministry that trains and equips ministers in their denomination. We got to talk for like an hour and I had fun just picking her brain about life IN ministry. It's one thing to be preparing for it and equipping myself with the things that I think I need - it's another thing to listen to people who are actually doing the stuff that I want to do, and learn from them. I feel like God is bringing me connections that will last for the rest of my life!

I just wanted to update you guys on some cool things God has done for me so far this year.

School Payment
Someone donated $100 dollars to my tuition!! How cool is that? I was so surprised and happy, it made my day! And then, someone else donated $50 - so that means my payment is about 200 now! ^_^

Outreach
I got picked for the Healing Rooms Activation! That means that on Saturdays from 9-1, I'll be in the healing rooms and leading a team in praying for the sick! (Actually, all you intercessors out there, if you wanted to pray for me at some point on Saturdays between those hours, I'd super appreciate it!) I am so excited about this opportunity - I know a lot of people who signed up for this who did not get in. And I know God is going to do some powerful things, so keep your eyes peeled for testimonies!!

Home Life
I got a lamp, a basket, and a really nice blanket - all for 5 dollars! Haha, may not seem like much to you, but these homey things make our apartment such a nice place to be!

Also, some of you remember my story about my tire blowing out? Well, both my parents felt like they should buy me some new tires - so my car is ready for winter! Man, I feel so blessed these days - God is good.

Check out my prayer request list for updates in what I'm believing God for - I really appreciate your partnering with me. I have such amazing opportunities available to me out here, I just want to soak it all up and come home ready to turn the world upside down!!

Love you!

Sam