Video clips from IF:Gathering Racial Reconciliation Roundtable

Quick post for those of you who may not have seen the article earlier this week in Christianity Today. The video clips at the end of the interview were filmed at the IF:Gathering after the audience was excused. I’m encouraged to hear of new relationships formed as a result of our time. Please pray for humble hearts, for restoration, for walls to come down. So fitting as we enter Holy Week to think on the final prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples and for each of us:

IMG_3514

“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” John 17:10-11

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/march/modeling-healthy-gathering-on-race.html

IF:Gathering Racial Reconciliation Roundtable

Greetings from Austin, TX. Amazing city. Amazing food. Amazing people. Took part in the IF:Gathering yesterday and the day before. Click the link to sign up to hear the sessions. Powerful weekend. The leadership and women I met were humble, down-to-earth, Kingdom-minded warriors. Warm. Welcoming. Brave. Courageous. I’ve always held strong to the belief: you become like those you are around. Grateful for every woman I met. I want to be more like them, because of how I saw Jesus in their lives and in their eyes. I was invited to contribute. Taped several mini Bible studies for IF:Equip and an interview on unity and diversity.

IF:Equip bible studies

IF:Equip bible studies

Yesterday, in a remarkably intimate setting, even though surrounded by 2000 in attendance at the venue and over 20,000 women watching live stream, seven of us discussed the elephant in the room: racial reconcilation. We began unpacking issues of awareness, ethnic diversity (or the lack thereof), racism, unity. The 20 minutes onstage continued for another full hour of taping as we continued to share stories of discrimination and barriers. We sat around a table, looking into each other’s eyes. Through conversation we risked and brought our stories into this space of grace and truth. Our perspectives of the God we love deepened through exposure to each other’s stories.

1621671_10155144153400494_932059687820235670_n

10988919_10155202939135051_9104145729860730186_n

Among the many “God’s perfect timing moments,” my article for Today’s Christian Women, “Rocking the Small World Boat” went live right in time for the conference. In it I share about awareness and included resources and tips to help further the conversation. You can click the link to access the article. TCW graciously unlocked the article so IF:Gathering and IF:Local women would have access to the resources.

I’m still turning over in my mind the content, the names, the faces, the experience. Anticipating how God will move, trusting Him for movement in the right direction.

Changed lives. Changed world.

 

Did you participate in the IF:Gathering? If so, I’d love to hear your feedback!

 

Leadership and Apologies and the Open Letter to the Evangelical Church

I don’t use the word “retard” or “retarded” anymore when I refer to myself after I mess up.

I have two author friends, Amy Julia Becker, author of “A Good and Perfect Gift” and Gillian Marchenko, author of “Sunshine Down.” They both have daughters who have Down Syndrome. Knowing a bit of their story and their heart, I understand with a new awareness why flippantly tossing that word around is hurtful. This is true even when my intention has been to make fun of myself and not directed at another to harm or insult. In the past I have used the word, but now that I have faces and a connection with my friends, I have woven the understanding into my daily life and word choices.

I don’t put my hand up to my head and form a pretend gun and act like I pull the trigger when I feel frustrated with someone, or try to be funny and use that motion with “you’re killing me” when something ridiculous happens.

I had a friend and former student who took her life in this manner. I am personally aware how this action, even when done in jest, can be hurtful.

I have several African American brothers in the faith. Men I admire and respect. Men of impeccable character who are adoring husbands and dads. I have heard them share stories of how they, or their sons, have been pulled over by the police and mistreated. How, when they walk down the street, women move their purses to the other arm when they walk past. My friendships with these men have opened my eyes and my awareness to the reality of the injustice they experience on a regular basis.

Over time my circle of relationships has grown. Life experiences and challenges have introduced me to new worlds across different landscapes: ethnic, socio-economic, religious, cultural, life-stage, lifestyle, to name a few. I’ve watched courageous women and men navigate parenting kids with special needs, walk through divorce and being a single parent or trying to build trust in a blended family. I’ve seen first hand the heartache of infertility, the joys and challenges of adoption, prodigal kids, broken engagements, addiction, chronic pain, depression, job loss. As my awareness has grown, so has my appreciation for people who walk a path different from my own.

Relationships grow awareness.

Awareness brings about change in attitude and action.

As an Asian American woman, I have experienced first hand both blatant and unintentional racism. Everything from being teased on the playground as a kid to more recently when a well-intentioned missionary spoke slowly, in broken English, and asked me, “You China?” To which I answered in perfect English, “Well, actually, I was born in Wisconsin.” She still went on to ask, in slow, broken English, “You Mommy, Daddy China?”

Two women I deeply respect, Helen Lee and Kathy Khang, wrote an “Open Letter to the Evangelical Church” earlier this week and a group of 80 Asian American leaders issued a call for dialogue and building bridges after multiple cultural misses from influential leaders in the church. You can read more about the situation here in this article by Christianity Today. Nearly 800 have signed in support of the letter. I have added my name as well with the hope that this important conversation will continue; where relationships will deepen and grow awareness, and awareness will bring about change in attitude and action.

I don’t in any way question the intention of any of the men involved in the offensive depictions. Intention is rarely the issue. I think the issue being brought forth is a call and the need for continued conversation. Good leadership is willing to graciously address hard issues, and good leadership graciously receives and responds to feedback, and when needed offers apologies.

Darrin and I, just a couple of weeks back, had a friend and co-worker who asked to talk with us. We didn’t know what it was in regards to, but we held this friend in high esteem and looked forward to connecting. It was brought to our attention how our inactions brought about hurt, frustration, disappointment and a blocked goal of completing what this co-worker had been tasked to accomplish. Our friend was gracious and kind. We were genuinely sad and sorry for what we did (or in this case didn’t do). All of us believed the best. Darrin and I didn’t try to excuse our actions or get defensive. Once we understood how what we did affected our friend, we were able to see from their perspective and apologize from a place of identification and understanding. We were grateful that our friend cared enough to express to us our miss. We wouldn’t have known otherwise. The beauty of reconciliation is that now the air is clear. No hard feelings. Our relationship has been restored and even deepened as friends and co-workers.

All of us make mistakes. Leaders make mistakes. Sometimes intentionally, most of the time unintentionally. All of us have much to learn from one another. All of us can take away a new level of awareness through what we walk through and experience.

I welcome your thoughts.

 

Psalm 84:5-7 Strength In The Lord

We just returned from a much needed vacation. We were able to stay at a friend’s house in Manhattan Beach and spent each day enjoying and exploring the white sand beach. Here’s a post I wrote for Asian American Women on Leadership. I’ve been invited to join as a regular contributor for their website. Hope these words bring you encouragement and perspective.

————-

My husband, Darrin, and I have a mixed marriage. He is half Japanese, a quarter Portuguese and a quarter Native Hawaiian. He grew up in an Asian majority city and state Hilo, Hawaii. I’m Chinese and I grew up in a majority Caucasian city and state, Boulder, Colorado. But our mixed marriage runs deeper than our ethnic make up. He has a Droid. I have an iPhone. He uses a Dell laptop. I use a MacBook. Darrin discovers back roads and rarely takes the same route anywhere. I drive the same way every time to the grocery store and post office He likes options. I like decisions. He reads the NIV Bible. I’m a die hard, loyal NASB version reader. But every so often I wander from the familiar and mix things up a bit in my Bible reading plan. This year I’ve been reading through the One Year Chronological Bible in the New Living Translation. Over the weekend I came across a favorite Psalm, but read it with fresh eyes.

Psalm 84:5-7

Psalm 84:5-7 (New Living Translation)

 

“Happy are those who are strong in the LORD, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” (Psalm 84:5-7)

 

Here’s a little nugget from what stood out to me from these verses in this version:

 

Happy are those who are strong in the LORD

  • am I seeking to be strong in ministry?
  • or strong in the living the Christian life?
  • or strong in a particular role of spouse, parent, leader, friend?
  • strong in the LORD speaks to me of knowing God intimately and trusting Him over and over…Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD (Jeremiah 17:7 NASB)

 

(Happy are those) Who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem

  • where have a set my mind? my thought life?
  • have I forgotten this world is not my home?
  • minds set on pilgrimage speaks to me of eternal perspective, of living for things unseen, of not getting entangled in jealousy, envy or comparison to other’s be it their relationships, stuff, status or ministry…Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NASB)

 

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping

  • not “if” but “when” means everyone, sooner or later, will go through valley times
  • the valley times can’t be hurried. they are walked, one foot in front of the other.
  • I’m reminded of how the slower pace of walking allows me to take in sights and sounds I would otherwise miss if I were taking life in rushing about

(to read the rest of the post please click here:

Letter to Epic Student Missionaries

Our Epic (Asian-American ministry of Cru) international summer mission teams are currently taking part in project briefing. The teams are receiving input, participating in team building activities and preparing for six weeks of: Loving the Lord, Loving their team, Learning a New World and Launching Movements. Here’s a letter I’ve written to them about some Scripture I read this morning.

999743_10152256631397524_1227234383_n

Dear Summer Mission Project Participants,

Each of you has a different story of how God led you to apply and how you ended up here on the Vanguard campus preparing to embark on an international summer mission project with Epic. I have to be honest. I’d give a kidney to jump on an airplane and join you and your team.

God has used these past several months to prepare your hearts for the task ahead. And just like how it felt to prepare to attend college–all the books/blogs you read, the stories you heard, even the campus visit you might have taken–all those things could not and did not capture the experience of actually being a college student and attending classes, living in the dorms, etc. Our staff have drawn from their past missions experiences to come up with helpful content, but actually arriving in country and walking the streets, breathing the air, smelling the smells–that’s when the change begins. The next six weeks will grow you and transform you as you experience life and dependence on the Lord with your team.

I’ve been reading through the “One Year Chronological Bible” this year. Currently camped out in the time of the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings. I was reading this morning and wanted to share a few thoughts as it seemed to pertain to God, missions, perspective and stuff I would share with you over a cup of coffee if time allowed.

  • 2 Kings 6:8-23 Elisha in the city of Dothan surrounded by a great army ready to take him out. His servant sees the troops, horses and chariots everywhere and freaks out, “Ah, my lord, what will we do now?” Elisha responds, “Don’t be afraid. For there are more on our side than on theirs.” And Elisha prays for God to open the eyes of his servant to see what was really going on…The LORD opens his eyes and he sees the hillside was filled with horses and chariots of fire….

Remember: you are not alone. God has got your back. People back home are praying for you. There are spiritual forces at work all around you that our human eyes cannot see. You and your team plus God is greater than any earthly opposition.

  • 2 Kings 7:3-11 Four lepers are starving because of a great famine that has taken over the land. They decide to go and surrender to their enemy, the Aramean army, because they figure they have nothing to lose. Turns out the army abandoned their camp and the lepers have a heyday going from tent to tent eating and plundering. They realize they can’t keep this good fortune to themselves. They return to the city and God provides for all the people from an unlikely source.

Remember: you and I are poor lepers who have found the True Bread and Living Water. We cannot keep the One who is the true treasure to ourselves. He has the Words of Eternal Life. Sharing our lives, sharing our stories, sharing the Gospel is one humble beggar who has discovered unlimited resources pointing another humble beggar where to find Food. Keep an attitude of humility and point people to Jesus, not the Christian life or a moral ethical code, but to Him who is Life.

  • 2 Kings 8:1-6 Earlier in 2 Kings (2 Kings 4:8-37) Elisha becomes friends w/ a woman from Shunem. He performs a miracle and brings her boy back to life. In this chapter Elisha instructs them to leave to the land of the Philistines because of the famine. They are gone seven years. She returns back to Israel, hoping to get her house and land back. The king had been talking to his servant about Elisha and the woman and her son appear at that exact moment to confirm the story of the son. Not only is her land restored, the king also compensates her for the value of the crops that had been harvested during her absence.

Remember: there are no accidents. God has determined the exact places we should live (Acts 17:26). As you engage in conversations, know that God has been orchestrating events before you arrive on the scene. Also remember: you can never out give God. He is able to provide from unexpected places in unexpected ways. Seek Him first.

I’m so excited for all God will do in you and through you. I will be joining so many who are praying for you and look forward to seeing you back on this side of the ocean.

Proud of you, excited for you, expectant with you,

viv

feel free to add additional comments about missions or encouragement for the epic summer teams….

Doorknobs and Unexpected Opportunities

I met Elisa Morgan at my first Synergy Conference in 2010. I sat in one of her seminars as she taught out of the books of Acts. She took off her shoe and used it to illustrate an Alexandrian ship; a type of slow moving barge the apostle Paul probably sailed on in Acts chapter 27. Her ability to keep the entire room engaged during the dreaded after-lunch-when-people-are-apt-to-doze-off spot, her brilliant handling of God’s Word, her fabulous taste in shoes, her willingness to share her weaknesses, and her deep devotion to God drew me in spellbound. I understood first hand why Elisa is such a sought after leader and teacher. The Publisher of FullFill, a free digital magazine for women of all ages, stages and callings, her current mission is to mobilize women to invest their influence in God’s purposes. She previously gave leadership to MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) International and helped grow the ministry to become a recognized household name across the country. She recently joined the Women of Faith teaching team, and continues to influence women all around the world.

I sheepishly approached her between meetings and asked her for advice and counsel regarding the writing/publishing world. She warmly replied, “Just keep jiggling the door knobs. Don’t force your way trying to push through the doors, but trust God will open the right doors. Your job is to keep jiggling to see which doors are open.” I tucked her words away in my mind with arms frozen by my side. Looking down the corridor of closed doors, I didn’t feel qualified to even try jiggling.

A couple months later Elisa asked her editor at Fulfill to contact me to find out if I would be willing to write a short article for the Summer 2010 issue.

I was floored.

Elisa opened a door for me. She modeled for me what it looks like for a more experienced leader to help, encourage and believe in an insecure, unsure, unqualified, leader-in-the-making. Her words and actions came at a time when I most needed assurance. Leadership is more than a title or role. Leadership is also about opening doors of opportunity and clearing the way for new leaders to grow and flourish. Leadership is exercised not only in planning meetings, but also lived out day to day in unexpected opportunities.

My hope is to be a generous leader like Elisa in helping encourage women to jiggle doorknobs and open doors where I can. My hope is to keep my hands open, and like Elisa, remember God’s Kingdom is bigger than what I’m involved with in my little corner. Kingdom building is an all-play, requiring all of me and all of you, to give all to Him.

Here’s the article below.

Helpful reminder from the article for me today:

“Even on my worst days as a mom, wife, friend and daughter….being here makes a difference.”

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 2.17.04 PMTo view the latest edition of Fulfill on the theme of Courage and subscribe to this free e-magazine, click here. Every issue is filled with thought provoking articles.

Hatwalk Follow Up and Guest Post

The days have been full. I am earnestly seeking to finish writing the book by Thanksgiving in order to not go into the holidays all crazy. Well, not more crazy added to the normal crazy.

The Hatwalk Gala event was as incredible as the hotel it was hosted in. What an impressive and extensive labor of love. It was a blessing to see 700 guests dressed to the nines, supporting and giving so generously to help others battling cancer. The evening wrapped up with a powerful visual of the purpose behind the Hatwalk. We watched a stream of beautiful women of all ages, all cancer survivors, take to the catwalk modeling various hats. We cheered each of them on with grateful tears in our eyes. The strength and courage they exuded caused the bright runway lights to seem dim in comparison.

I spent most of the weekend giddy–romping around my room in the signature Fairmont hotel robe, trying to act all writer-like. Leila’s sister, Jacqui, was able to connect me with a hair and makeup person who came to my room Saturday afternoon to perform a magic transformation act. She used some kind of silicone based spray on foundation, then dipped her extensive array of brushes into rows and rows and trays and trays of Mac make-up. False eyelashes, a billion bobby pins and hairspray, hairspray, hairspray followed by instructions to not lie down, not nap, or cry, rub my eyes, move, and to use cold spoons to take down the puffiness under my eyes.

This was the final outcome:

It actually was a huge blessing to have the time away. The gals from a freshman Bible study I led back in 1989, when I first worked at the Cal campus, gifted me with an additional night at the Fairmont so I could focus on writing the book. The beautiful environment somehow helped to break through a mental barrier which moved me ahead significantly in my writing. I have two chapters left to write and then two appendices. My amazing agent, who happens to also be an amazing editor, will go over this first draft before I turn it in to the editor at the publishing house. We are nearing the end of part one in the writing marathon and I am starting to hear the faint sound of Taiko drums in my heart.

I was invited by my friend and fellow Redbud writer, Natasha, to guest post and share part of my journey as an Asian-American. You can read the post here. It’s a two-part interview which is part of a series she has been writing on racial reconciliation. Hope you will pop over to check it out.

 

 

 

Women Leaders: Strength and Dignity

As the month of May winds down to a close, I find myself reflecting back on some significant “firsts.” Earlier in the month I had the honor of speaking at the first Asian American Pacific Islander Women’s Leadership Conference. Women, along with some incredibly supportive men, from across the country and from as far as the UK gathered in Southern California. We represented leaders from different churches, parachurch organizations and seminaries. Our families originated from throughout Asia. Our experiences were as varied as the languages we or our parents spoke, and the countries we or our parents came from. But as we shared our stories, we found common ground in our struggles and challenges. Friendships were forged. Some were rekindled. We left encouraged, understood, inspired, validated and hope-filled. We were not alone as we sought to live out God’s call on our lives.

The middle of May found me traveling for the first time to the Chicago area to attend the first Redbud Writers Guild retreat. Thirty of the fifty-eight of us gathered as we pursued living out our tag line of: fearlessly expanding the feminine voice in our churches, community and culture. Again, our experiences were varied. Our journey as writers was as unique as the fingerprints found on our laptop keys. But as we shared our stories, we found common ground in our struggles and challenges. We received input, we brainstormed, we dreamed. Names, faces and voices connected. We left encouraged, understood, inspired, validated and hope-filled. We were not alone as we sought to live out God’s call on our lives.

In both settings I found myself looking around and wondering out loud, “How in the world did I end up in a room together with such amazing, high-caliber women?!” Both settings included women leaders with multiple advanced degrees, hearts aflame with love for God, ministry experiences across the country and around the globe, vision for being a part of righting the wrongs in this world and the shared agreement to build up rather than compete against each other. We were intentional about acknowledging differences while remaining unified. In both settings we knew as women leaders our collective voice gave us strength to contribute uniquely in the various spheres of influence we walked and ministered. In both groups these women leaders held a high view of men. And we understood through advocacy, mutual respect and support from good and godly men that men AND women together paints a fuller, deeper picture of God’s character and the message of Hope for our hurting world. Not surprisingly, both of these groups have been positively influenced by the Synergy Women’s Network. The message of Synergy resonates in our core how we are created as image bearers, warriors and how together with our husbands and brothers we are to walk in the good works God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10).

My heart is concerned and saddened by the confusion and nastiness I often see online as it relates to Christian women and leadership. I have godly friends on both sides of the theological spectrum. I have studied and read side by side the writings on the various passages in the Bible addressing women and leadership written by men and women who love God wholeheartedly. This blog purposely does not include a book list and blog roll. I don’t want readers to draw conclusions and dismiss my writing based on who I read or don’t read. I welcome dialog, discussion and have come to believe reading widely is helpful in broadening our understanding of who God is and how we reflect Him through our culture, gender, gifting and experiences.

My fellow Redbud, Stephanie, tweeted this Chinese proverb today:

When sleeping women wake, mountains move.

The women leaders I have been privileged to link arms with through the API Women’s Leadership conference and Redbud Writers Guild display strength and dignity that is feminine and powerful. Their faith, character, vision, and voice will surely cause mountains to move. Mark my words.

 

 

Epic Gathering: Prayer is Dependence

*these are the talk notes from our first Epic Gathering…it was a webinar through dimdim and we had over 100 staff and epic students participating earlier this evening!

We are entering fall which is my favorite season of the year. Having been on staff and in campus ministry for 21 years, I still look at fall as the beginning of the year. The technology that allows us to all participate in this epic gathering from all across the country is amazing. As I look down the list of those attending, I feel privileged to know many of you and be able to put your names and faces together. For those of you I haven’t met yet I look forward to our paths crossing in the coming months and years.
This is what I picture in my mind as I think about this time each of you checking in from all over the country. Some of you are exhilarated by people coming to faith or coming out to epic events or God providing in completely unexpected ways. Some of you are still flying high coming off the most amazing summers of your life. I know that each of our epic interns has experienced God provide their financial support down to the wire and we celebrate everyone reporting. Some of you are awestruck that the prayers you prayed last spring for this incoming class of freshmen have been answered way above and beyond your expectations. Others of you may be feeling alone or beaten down and discouraged. Some of you are facing challenges that seem insurmountable, some of you are running on very little sleep and you are physically wiped out, some of you may be emotionally running on empty. Regardless of where you fall in the spectrum of your experience so far, all of us are connected through being a part of something bigger than ourselves.

We are here. And even though sometimes we struggle with wanting to quit, each of us has come to a place in our relationship with Jesus where we have said, like Peter and the end of John 6 when Jesus asked him if he wanted to bail, “Lord, to whom shall we to? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” I trust that you and I are in on a journey of knowing and loving our King and the things of the Kingdom and that we are involved in epic because we have been captured in our souls by the incredible greatness of our God–that 1 Peter 1:8 resonates in your heart and mine: “and though you have not seen Him you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” As we trust God to raise up Epic movements all around the country I pray that our motivation comes from an overflow of experiencing God’s love and forgiveness, gratitude for God’s mercy in rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness, and the hope and anticipation that we can be a part of pointing those who are lost to the Lord.

Tonight we are going to be talking about prayer and dependence on God.

There is so much that can be shared on this topic. Entire books have been written on prayer. My hope is that as a result of our epic gathering we will feel more connected to what God is doing across the country and that we would be lifting up our brothers and sisters and epic movements to the Lord in greater frequency and with greater insight and clarity. I am going to focus on one thing tonight: prayer is dependence.

Anytime prayer is brought up, it often evokes feelings of failure or for a rare few it can lead to pride. Who can really say how much prayer is enough? I think this is because we look at prayer as something to check off on a to-do list, an agenda item or the way we start and end meetings. Prayer can sometimes become boring or monotonous. But I think prayer is not so much about reciting a laundry list of requests but a heart posture of dependence on the Lord. And rather than another thing to do to add to the already too full plate of things to do, it is, instead, as natural as breathing. I am going to be jumping all around the Scriptures, so I will be putting the passages on the power point so you can look them up and read them on your own. I will also post on my blog these notes so you can read them if you like.

QUESTION: Why do we need to pray/depend on God and not ourselves:
ANSWER: Because our battle is spiritual
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Sometimes we can mistakenly think that our enemy is the school administration, or other people, but the Scripture is clear: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12
We are engaging on a spiritual level in a spiritual battle and are unable to see with our earthly eyes what is going on in the spiritual realm. In 2 Kings 6:15-17 Elisha and his servant are surrounded by an army with horses and chariots circling the city and the servant freaks out, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Elisha prays that the Lord would open the servants eyes to see reality and God answers and “he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

QUESTION: How do we express our dependence on God/pray
ANSWER: Inquire, acknowledge, dwell/linger

David: inquired of the Lord before battle: some examples–1 Sam. 23:2,4, 1 Sam. 30:8, 2 Sam. 2:1 As leaders, I want to exhort each of you to follow David’s example and be diligent in inquiring of the Lord
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEGE HIM, and He will make your paths straight.

One of the observations I’ve made as I read through the Bible is that no two battles are the same. Sometimes God confused the enemy and they ended up killing each other and the Israelites only had to walk in and plunder. Sometimes they had to do hand to hand combat and there was blood and death and pain. Even the miracles that Jesus performed looked different each time. Sometimes healing came just from Him saying the word and the person wasn’t even with Him like the centurion’s servant, sometimes He gave instruction to do things like the blind man who had to wash a certain number of times in the pool of Siloam (John 9) and then his sight was restored. I think God mixes it up so that our dependence is on Him, not on methodology. So what works on one campus may not work on another. Our confidence cannot be in our training, our leadership, our ministry philosophy, our skill set, gifting, or past experience. Our confidence must be in the Lord. As we turn to Him, fix our gaze on Him, inquire of Him, He will give us wisdom, ideas, favor, courage. Remember, we are a part of something much greater than we even know. So much of what is happening occurs in the unseen realm.
I love the example of Joshua: in Exodus 33:11 would sit and linger in the tent of meeting after Moses left and had spent time hearing from the Lord.

QUESTION: Who should we invite to join us in dependence on the Lord/prayer?
ANSWER: Leaders, churches, alumni, kids, grandparents, everyone….

As you move out to “take the land” enlist the prayer support of everyone you know who prays. If your church has a prayer chain ask them to be in prayer for your outreaches, for your fall retreats, etc. Enlist those godly prayer warrior Grandma’s and have them adopt your campus to pray for you. Send out fb msg to your friends and family near and far and ask them to join you in praying for your campuses.

I’d like you to take a few moments and share two or three prayer requests for yourself or your campus on the live chat. We will be able to capture these requests and continue to pray for you in the coming weeks.

Some of you are experiencing incredible outpouring of God’s blessing and we want to celebrate with you. Some of you are facing campuses that have spiritual strongholds and things have been discouraging so far. One of the great things about this format of meeting is realizing that we are not alone.

aside: Some of you will be used by God to lay the foundation as a “Moses” kind of leader. You will not actually get to enter the promised land, but you will raise up the next Joshua and he or she will be the one to take the land, or in our case see Epic become established on your particular campus.
We are all a part of the story–the Epic story that God is unfolding. It is an honor and a privilege to travel with each of you.
Pray