Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Miraculously Unshrinking Bank Account

The day before leaving Nuremberg, I decided to check my bank account. Given my calculations and attempts at frugality I knew I should have had just about enough money to pay my hotel balance at checkout. I was pleasantly surprised to find that after paying rent, conference costs, and the plane ticket from Milan to Nuremberg and back, I had quite a bit of extra money. And to make things even cooler, a friend had written me to say she was supporting me with $50 through a bank transfer!

Either my math was really off, or my God was really generous.

The last day of the conference I met up with some friends from the U.S. who had also gone to Awakening Europe. We ate out together, and when one of them insisted on paying for my meal I had about lost it. My gift love-o-meter was definitely full!

In the course of the four days various people felt led to walk up to me and share words of encouragement, all of which agreed with one another. I was told again and again that I was loved, special, that God wanted to honor me, that He sees my heart, that doors would be opening, that I would be entering a new season and that whatever had previously kept me from following my dreams would be removed. Every single day someone new came up to tell me something along these lines. Then, my bank account is way higher than it should be, a random person buys me ice-cream, another person buys me dinner, and I'm cracking and shifting and opening up and softening and I just know that whatever work God has begun in all of this will come to pass.

So I buy a few things for a few people because we're blessed to be a blessing! And then, on the morning of my flight I wander through an artisan village in center city Nuremberg and buy a couple of gifts for family (and one for myself!). I admire the beauty of this little haven and the more expensive and fragile works of the glass maker who enjoyed my patronage.
At the airport my hunger compels me to buy Toblerone and traditional ginger-almond Nuremberg cookies (which were later shared blissfully with my missions partner and a German friend staying with us in Milan).

As I sit down I hear chatter of Todd White being spotted. I decide not to be too upset about missing him. After all, I can see him in Heaven if I don't see him here. But of course, he's on the same flight as me, and I get to talk to him and give him both my Good Word Radio Show- and European Faith Missions cards.

When I got to Milan I continued to sow into the local ministries I was volunteering with, and the local church I was attending, and those experiences continued to be a blessing as well! Plus, I kept getting gifts! Everything I needed to do I was able to do, and everything I wanted to try, I was able to try. Soon my hand opened bit by bit, more and more, and I began to realize that when it comes to resources, step out in faith. I realized that God truly does provide for you when He calls you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Changing Atmospheres

We will see You coming in Your glory
Coming here to change the atmospheres
Revival, revival, revival
We declare it over the land

This little piece of spontaneous prophetic song has been popping up in my sets for the past few months. It first came during a Wednesday evening set in March at JHOP Boston. I was leading a set with one of my buddies Michelle. We were pressing in and, as often happens, went into a time of free worship. After, during our time of intercession, we went into a time of reflection as another friend who came to the set asked the group gathered, "What does revival actually mean? We keep praying for this thing to happen but I don't know if we know what it is we're asking for."

We were all quiet as we pondered this.

When there is awakening and revival, there is a shifting of the atmosphere. Where there was once darkness there is now light. Where there was once death, there is life. Where there were sleepers, there are now those who have woken and risen up.

Sometimes, we can see this shift begin to take place. Before the greater shift that comes with revival, there are smaller, but no less important shifts that help pave the way. Much like the Kingdom, the revival is here already and still coming.

This really jumped out at me during a time of street evangelism last Wednesday in Milan. I was joining a group of mostly Italian evangelists on their Missione Mobile "Mobile Missions" evangelism bus. Parked on the side of the road in the heart of one of Milan's most capitalistic shopper happy avenues, Corso Buenos Aires, the bus is in prime position to reveal who the true God is.

So, I came along with my guitar and prepared to engage in some spirit war. Along with me was a visiting pastor and prayer warrior. Neither of us claim evangelism as our primary calling, but we do tend to find ourselves in evangelistic situations.

Anyway, I started playing and didn't feel like anything was happening, so I put my guitar down to hand out tracks and pray with people. Soon though I felt led to pick up my guitar again and wham! All of a sudden everything looked brighter and the shift, the moving from one place to another, was tangible. The atmosphere felt more positive. I resolved then not to be put off if the change isn't immediate.

I went back again later in the evening, to celebrate "La Notte Bianca" or "The White Night" with some good ole fashioned evangelism. There were some young people from a couple of churches gathered together, and so I joined them, finding some dear familiar faces among the group. This time though, I didn't have a prayer warrior in agreement with me. No one who worked with the theological foundation of what I was doing. Not just singing church songs, but staking spiritual claim on the area for the Kingdom of Heaven. Soon, however, one of my dear friends came and as the two of us lifted up worship in agreement, the atmosphere lifted further.

Up until that point the only breakthrough I had been seeing was a lessening of the amount of mosquitoes plaguing us! Though, to be honest, I was pretty happy already with that.
But now, I had so much joy in worship, and the people handing out tracks were encouraged as well!

We had a great time praying with different people and inviting them on the bus for free reading materials and to learn more about Jesus. This interchurch interdenominational bus is literally an answer to many prayers for unity in Italy, and the coming together of different groups for the sake of the Gospel alone impacted the atmosphere, I'm sure.
Here are some pics :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Awakening Europe

The purpose of the Awakening Europe conference was -you guessed it- to awaken Europe. In the spiritual sense, of course. Because my home church in Boston was partially funding this trip, I found myself in a bit of a bind as to whether or not I should go. I think deep down inside I felt it would be too much fun, and that people shouldn't be giving their money for me to have fun. Absurd!

However, upon consultation with God he unceremoniously told me to go by giving me the distinct impression that I was asking a very silly question.

Did I give you a heart for Europe?
Isn't it one of your greatest desires to see awakening and revival in Europe and the world?
Do you trust you have the resources to go?
Do you want to go?
Then why are you asking me whether or not you should go?
Ahhhhh. Gotcha

So, with some very close math, I bought a bunch of tickets and booked a hotel room in Nuremberg, figuring that the money the church raised would cover any emergency expenses until my next paycheck came in.

So, on a very fabulously comfy flight from Boston to Milan, I played a language learning game to learn some German. I recovered from my jet lag and visited with a local small group and then I was off to Nuremberg, quite alone. Through directions downloaded from the Fahrinfo app and the German I learned on my flight, I managed to get from the airport to my hotel room, and from there to the stadium in time for the opening session.

Germany is much cooler, especially at night, so many of us froze as we worshiped, but worship we did. The parade of nations was lovely, and I was pleased to see the U.S. among the nations represented.

I met lovely amazing people all with lovely amazing stories, and it was just such an incredible time. In the end I had divine encounters with quite a few people from Germany, some people from the U.S., Azerbaijan, Peru, Italy, Kenya, Switzerland, the Netherlands and more, I'm sure.
I learned a bit about what I want my Christianity to look like and what I don't want it to look like.

I don't want to partake in what I call "obnoxious evangelism". You know, the phenomenon that occurs when a bunch of Christians who normally rarely, if ever, step out in faith to share the Gospel suddenly find themselves surrounded by other Christians with the expectation placed upon them to step out in faith, and so they come together to be obnoxiously loud (usually the preferred means for this is through music), and continue to do so, while staying together, and did I mention while also being incredibly loud and quite possibly off-putting?

Personally, I prefer the more guerilla style evangelism tactic of buying unsuspecting strangers ice-cream (like the nice guy who bought me ice-cream in Nuremberg), but maybe stick around and explain you want to share some Jesus love. Or maybe offer seats on the often crowded public transportation, ask someone their story, actually take the time to listen, and then pray with them about it.

Honestly, regardless of my personal preferences, it all comes back to love. Don't just pounce on every person with crutches or in a wheelchair who goes by, or sing really loudly about Jesus because you don't want to actually engage with people. I get it, trust me. My primary calling is worship, and so evangelism for me largely happens at the spiritual level. I worship and claim the space for the Kingdom, and my friends actually talk to people. But when the opportunity presents itself to step out, I do.

I've found that if I'm just looking for a story, not much happens.
Who do I really want to see glorified here? You know what I mean?

Basically, I want my walk with God to look like humility and love.

In the end I think I got more out of this conference that I put in, but I shouldn't be too surprised. I was able to encourage many people, but I will treasure most the words and the spiritual deposits I received at Awakening. I feel empowered in a new way, and ready to step into a new season of favor with God. I am so ready to see the awakening and revival explode in Boston, Milan, and beyond!

Young lady and her husband, who gave me an incredible word of encouragement :)

Some stadium views. We were in Frankenstadion.

My friend Joachim from Germany, who I met in Poland!

My lovely new friends Luisa from Italy and Milagros from Peru.

                                         The guerilla ice-cream ;)

My good friend from Azerbaijan, who shall remain nameless here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Writing Again


It has been a while since I have graced this blog with my presence. That's quite sad considering this is, in fact, my blog. Somewhere between the transitions, new jobs, traveling, and myriad other things, I fell off of blogging. So now the question is: what direction to take with this blog? I certainly have things to say. Well, I suppose I'll do what I always do. Here's what's going on.

Right now I'm sitting at our (European Faith Missions) missions base in Milan, sweating it out like a champ. It has been averaging 100 degrees for the past two weeks, and it doesn't look like this pattern is going to end anytime soon. I think it's safe to say that water weight gain is a thing of the past. I recommend Milan right now as an excellent place for detoxing, saunas, and the like, all free of charge!

I'm glad I didn't bother bringing any makeup...

Now, I am in Milan on missions work. I took a side trip to Nuremberg Germany, for the Awakening Europe conference, and while here I'm helping different ministries out.

The most frustrating thing about this experience is that during the day I roast and during the night mosquitoes threaten to eat me alive. You know it's bad when you are gratified with everyone around you freaking out on your behalf and either waving their arms frantically about you or reaching for whatever bug spray is in their bag. Milanese mosquitoes really like me.

However, God is most merciful, and when you choose to not let such trivial things as an army of bloodsuckers and potential death by heat stroke stop you, He rewards you with some pretty incredible experiences. In the posts to follow I'll let you know about the incredible experienes I've been having in Nuremberg and Milan, and share with you about my God who is most faithful, most wonderful, and geatly to be praised.