Our Nakedness is Covered by Our Lord

I’ve facilitated dozens of people through hundreds of prayer ministry sessions. Here in the company of each other and the Holy Spirit individuals turn towards the Lord.

Everyone comes with unresolved pain, unrecognized conclusions about life, fears they can’t quite name, anxiety, and more and as I direct and lead them in bringing these kinds of things to the feet of Christ and his cross and into the throne room of God there is never a harsh word spoken. Never.

Time after time, for years now, I suggest, “Ask Jesus what you do with this” And as they take their query to the Lord, always unsure and risking to bare this part of their life to God, the Holy Spirit always replies and directs in warmth, affirmation, compassion. Always.

And burdens are lifted time after time after time after time after time.

The hard work is the turning to God. We all have shame and embarrassments, regrets and disappointments, lies and condemnations playing over in our lives in one degree or another. These are the things that keep us from God.

But not because God is holding these things against us, no, rather it is us who hold these things between us and God.

We have our failures, we have our sin, we have our shame, whatever it may be, and we keep it close to our hearts trying, trying, trying to overcome and solve and fix this thing that just won’t go away.

We orient to our broken lives and turn away from God in our shame. But the thing only gets worse when we do this with cycles of despondency and failure taking hold, increasing our guilt, increasing our fear, increasing our anxiety.

It is only as we realize that we cannot fix this thing or our lives, only when we come to the end of ourselves, that we are convinced to turn toward God, to fix our eyes on Christ, and to open ourselves to his grace in our lives.

For the grace of Christ is a powerful agent of transformation. By it we are changed. Simple as that.

It’s not about our working at things harder. Christ didn’t die for this.

It’s not about our making things right. Most things cannot be made right.

It’s not about our striving, service, sacrifice. You can’t make it happen.

It’s about grace and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hang out with him and you will become a different, more whole, healthy, balanced, wise, content, person.

You will increase in holiness, righteousness, patience, peace, love, just to name a few.

I have personally entered into these intimate conversations with the Lord via prayer ministry well over a hundred times and as I bring my own stuff to the Lord I am changed in my perspective of God simply by how he conducts these conversations.

And then, in the witness to dozens of others encountering the same God again and again and again, I stand as a witness to the gracious manner of the Lord.

God is not out to get you. God is not out to get anyone.

God will not embarrass you. God will not uncover your shame.

In the book of Genesis 9 we find the story of Moses becoming drunk and laying uncovered in his tent. We read that his son Ham saw his nakedness and proceeded to talk about it to others; Ham increased the uncovering of his father.

Then we read that Shem and Japheth took a garment and walking backwards covered over their fathers nakedness; they refused to participate in his uncovering but instead committed themselves to his dignity regardless of his drunken state.

This is exactly how God is with us. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW GOD IS WITH YOU AND I.

God is committed to your dignity regardless of your drunken (fill it in for yourself) state.

I’ve seen it hundreds of times. I’ve experienced it myself hundreds of times.

God covers over our nakedness. He does not expose, humiliate, condemn.

In this we have confidence to come before the throne of grace receiving life afresh.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Amen and amen with all praise to you Lord.

Ministry in Mozambique

The summer is flying by, and with it we are thick into preparations for our fall ministry trip to Mozambique.

Pastor Daniel and nine churches have been waiting for over a year and a half for us to be there, and we are deeply glad that the time has come for fellowship in company of each other.

The plan is that I (Cyndy) will head there on October 16th for 15 days on the ground. We have received donations enough to cover about two-thirds of the ticket price, and half of the total cost of the trip.

Thank-you to all those who have donated so far – The work of Capturing Courage is dependent on the donations and prayers of ordinary folks like yourselves.

A few specific things to keep in prayer about:

– Clarity in our final communications as we near our travel time.

– Full funding so that we stay on budget for this trip.

– Heart preparation for a work of the Lord, for both Cyndy and the people in Mozambique.

– All details coming together.

art auctionThere are also five evangelists and pastors from Kenya and Uganda who would like to travel and join us in Mozambique – please pray for clarity, direction, and funding to work for them as the Lord leads.

The work of Capturing Courage continues to solidify and expand. As we are faithful with the depth the Lord continues to increase the breadth.

Please be in prayer for us beyond this trip to Mozambique. The question of ‘which country next?’ is playing in the back of our minds and we wait on the Lord’s specific direction.

The choices forefront in our minds at this time are India, Kenya, Myanmar, & Uganda.

Your prayers for clarity and wisdom and guidance on our behalf are very appreciated.

If you live in the Vancouver area mark your calendars for our Open House & Art Auction Fundraiser coming in late September.

If you are new to the work of Capturing Courage Click HERE.

“Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous portion of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”  2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT

To support this work around the world Donate HERE

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Capturing God’s Heart – Holy Spirit – Volume 27

In the Amplified Bible we find Jesus telling his disciples,

“But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” John 14:26

Continue reading

Fasting Unto the Lord

P1290233 compressedThis is the fasting that God wants: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you.

Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Then you will call, the Lord will quickly answer, ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.

Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.

Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

Isaiah 58:6-12

Come and See

Jesus Christ SavesThis is a reminder to those living in the greater Vancouver area that tomorrow we are having our Capturing Courage Tea, Story & Prayer gathering.

At 2pm – 4pm, Sunday April 21st, we are gathering to share and pray for God’s heart around the world.

It’s been about six months since our last event, and there have been a lot of things going on in that time – Come and get caught up.

Our last few weeks at Capturing Courage have carried some sorrow and loss – Come and honor with us.

The investments are increasing, relationships are expanding, growth is slowly yet steadily taking hold – Come and celebrate with us.

A trip is in the wings, we are praying and planning – come and look ahead with us.

  • Sunday, April 21
  • 2-4 pm
  • 10082 160St
  • Surrey

“Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life could be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.” Mark 6:12-13 The Message – And the task we are about

Capturing Courage Stories & Prayer from around the World

You are Invited - April 21st

Capturing God’s Heart – In Weakness – Volume 23

It is hard being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For within the role is the dynamic of all of God and then all of who we are.

All of God are the miracles and the signs and the wonders.

All of us are the aches and pains and the loss and the sorrow that we each personally have.

We preach healing and we experience sickness ourselves.

We declare healthy lives and we struggle with estranged relationships.

We teach and lead others to Christ and then can barely find him for ourselves.

Continue reading

Going Places

P1320123 compressedShe was attending the third day of Pastor Training. I’d been staying at her home for a few days already.

My first night in her home didn’t feel safe to me. There seemed to be dark forces at work, an authority of sorts to muck with my sleep and that hovered over the home.

My first morning, upon wakening, my conversation with the Lord was about how unsafe I felt, and that I really wasn’t sure I was to stay there.

I’d over the previous years become very attuned to when I was covered and hidden in the Lord and when I was not. The ‘not covered’ moments were becoming few and far between, and so when I sensed a compromised covering I would notice right away.

As I prayed about it though I very clearly sensed the Lord saying, “I want you to stay here. I want the blessing that you bring with you to rest on this home.”

I was reminded it was not about me. That my presence in that country was about something much bigger than me. So I settled into staying.

When my key contact came to pick me up that morning, I let him know how it had all felt, and suggested that he and I pray together for a spiritual safety in the home.

This we did, and in the midst of our conversation he realized that the first home I had stayed in they had in fact prayed and covered it before I came, this home they had not.

So we prayed together and everything was fine after that.

And now I was a few days later at the Pastors Conference with my host lady in attendance.

I shared that day some of my own struggles through life. The disillusionment and the heartache and loss, and yet how I had found through it all that God was a profound ally.

Something powerful happens when we are transparent and when we risk to tell our stories. Though they feel ultra personal, and of course they are, they are also something to be invested in the kingdom of God and in the lives of those we serve.

That evening over dinner, as my host lady and I ate together, she confided to me her own very difficult journey, of the immense heartaches and loss and of her bitterness to God that she could not quite shrug off.

It was a connection of like hearts and minds in many ways. We became friends that day. I prayed for her and declared the peace and blessing over her and her home that the Lord had already told me was his intention.

Three months later I was back again. And the tenor of the home and its inhabitants was markedly changed. There was joy and laughter and hope there now.

I mentioned this to her, and she said ‘yes’ it was much different. To me it was like I was in a very different place.

This is the power of God. In God’s intention we are well kept.

I don’t all the way get this blessing of God through our presence. When I think of myself in terms of the blessing of presence, of just being somewhere, I really don’t understand it. Yet I’ve had too many people speak to me of the impact of my presence to argue any more.

I’ve simply come to understand that when God chooses to work a certain way through us, we can either come alongside and do our part, or we can keep arguing and in the long run, miss out on so much.

Thing is, it really is not about us.

It’s about those we serve.

I don’t know about you. I don’t know the unique impact that you make on the world. But I do know that if others are commenting on how you effect them, if God is calling you to invest your life in a particular way, that you probably want to pay attention, trust those words and observations, and seek to do even more of that.

Self devaluing never benefited anyone.

My other host home in another village some 200km away has experienced the same blessing from what I can tell. From the time of my first stay to my third stay some six months later, the woman of the home planted a banana field, added doors to the interior of her home, plastered the inside of her home, and added a significant  addition onto one of her outside buildings.

I don’t know if this was normal per se, she is a widow and so struggles along in many ways, and yet I saw marked progress and improvement in her standard of living in the time I’d been there.

Was this God through me? I won’t ever really know. But this I do know. That if I am to bring the blessing of God with me as I go places, then I’d better be going places.

What about you?

Don’t Let the Bed-Bugs Bite

time to say 'no'

Spiritual Authority rather is the influence that we carry within us to make a difference in this world and in the lives of others. It is the assignment or calling that would have us entering into something bigger than ourselves.

Spiritual Authority rests on the knowing of our position in Jesus, it is about confidence of who God is and who we are made to be. But let me tell you a story.

I was in Uganda for almost another week. Visiting another area found me in yet another beautiful woman’s home. Nice space, good bed, hospitality and gracious warmth, all wrapped around me in comfort.

Until I woke in the middle of the second night to find numerous bedbugs. On the bed and on my mosquito netting both inside and out.

So with my flashlight and my kleenex (I’m really glad I had experience with lice years earlier, it somehow prepared me) I scringed them all in my tissues. And then tried to go back to sleep.

This continued for the nights I remained there. I tried all sorts of things. I laid a mat I had been given on top of my mattress. I then tucked my mosquito netting under the mat (as opposed to around the edges of the bed), then laid myself on top of the mat. This set-up made a figure 8 of sorts that they would have to navigate in order to get to me.

Well, navigate it they did. Bed-bugs are smart. We settled into a routine of sorts. Sleep fitfully, wake up to dispose of bed bugs, sleep fitfully, then wake to dispose of more, each night until morning came.

Long story short, I made it out alive (and lived to tell about it), and managed to not bring one bed-bug home with me. Phew!

Three months later and I am heading to Uganda again. To the same home. For three weeks this time.

Back to the bed-bugs.

But the Lord had been speaking more and more to me about my spiritual authority. My confidence was increasing all the time, and the anointing and level of authority had been increased as well.

And we were praying. My prayer team and I silenced those bed-bugs all the way from Canada, weeks before I was to be there again.

We really didn’t know what we were doing per se. We just prayed a bit.

Upon my arrival in Uganda and settling straight away into this same home and same bed found me that first night setting the stage.

I got into bed and spoke out loud, “I declare myself covered in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ, and say to all bed-bugs ‘be still’ – insert praying in tongues here- Amen.”

No bedbugs. Days went by, a few weeks went by. Not one bedbug.

I was thinking, wow that is amazing. What did they do? How did they get rid of them?

We all know how impossible it is to get rid of bedbugs.

Until one night that I was woken in a nightmare and demonic attack. Three times I was woken, and the third time there were three bedbugs. One I had flicked off myself, killing it as I severed its head from its body, and two others clinging on the inside of my mosquito netting.

(sorry for the graphic detail)

There lay the one dead one, and there were the two on the netting, and I simply spoke to them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that they were to ‘be still’ (meaning not to get to me) and simply went back to sleep.

I never saw them again.

In all of this, the only element that changed from trip one to trip two was the power of prayer and the increased confidence that I carried, knowing that I could command these critters and they had to listen.

Not because of me, but because of who my God is.

And it made all the difference.

This is spiritual authority. Knowing who God is, understanding that ‘he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world’ and with the confidence to stand in that truth, to declare from that truth, and to rest in that truth.

Now imagine this same knowing, this same confidence, this same declaration made on behalf of the broken hearted. Imagine this same advocated for those who have no voice. Imagine angels released to heal, hope infused in the hopeless, freedom where before there was bondage. Imagine.

This is spiritual authority. It is first the place where we meet the living God ourselves. We find sufficiency and grace and healing and love and hope. We find confidence and our voice.

And then we bring this knowing to bear upon this world. We learn to advocate the love of God on behalf of others in powerful and effective ways. This is Spiritual Authority at its best. And this is what I am teaching.

To the bed-bugs, and to everything else that has ever gone wrong in this world, we say, “You will NOT bite. Your authority is cancelled here.”

God reigns.

Mona Lisa

P1200321 compressedLike any great artist God has created the world we live in, all of nature and animals, the wonders of the deep, the beauty of the galaxies, and you and I.

All of it is magnificent. (and that is an understatement)

In the process of this artistry God poured all of his/her (God is both male and female, many languages have no personal pronouns designating gender, the English language is sadly constrained in this) into the masterpiece.

All of God’s goodness, all of his hopes and dreams, all of passion and ecstasy, all of dance and worship, all of grace and sufficiency, of wealth of soul and spirit, of rich relationships, community and communion has been poured into this Masterpiece.

The principles and the spiritual laws and the ways the universe works and holds together is based on who God is. Every single thing we can observe about nature and science reflects God.

Like any great art piece, if we look long enough and observed deep enough we would see the handiwork of the master. We would come to recognize the heart of the one who painted and sculpted and composed.

We spot a Monet and we know it is a Monet. We take in a Rembrandt and we know that it is a Rembrandt. Mozart is Mozart and Vivaldi is Vivaldi. Each artist has a unique style and heart and feel to their work.

So it is with God. We and this world are his living masterpiece. Invited to live out the masters heart in full color and joy and dance and satisfaction we are fashioned to give evidence of God.

But we have mucked with the masterpiece. We’ve not been respectful of the artist. Missing the heart of the artist, even in this world, can be easy to do. Many of the ‘great’ artists were not so great in their day. Only with time did the genius with which they create come to be truly appreciated.

The numerous and untold ways that we have mucked with God’s masterpiece range from violent acts against humanity all the way to the violent thoughts of our hearts. From overt acts to covert acts and to intentions of the heart we have been disrespectful of the Master Artist and his creation. From sins of commission to sins of omission to sins of the heart we have been exceptionally disrespectful.

Imagine if you will, that you are setting out a family dinner. It is summer, you are gathered outside. The sun is shining, the burgers are on the grill, the salads are plentiful, the sauces and chili and mustard and relish and ketchup are all at hand.

There are beverages, soda pop, beer, kool-aid, coffee, tea, wine, maybe even some homemade slushies.

It is going to be a great feast.

But before we all set down to eat, one of us pulls out a tablecloth (picnic tables need tablecloths after all). It is something that Uncle Ben* (not his real name) found.

It is the Mona Lisa. Imagine, if you will (and if it were really big enough for this) that we are using the Mona Lisa as our tablecloth.  Not knowing its value, not knowing its worth, ignorant of its beauty and importance we set our cups and plates and stemware and silverware on her.

We gather around. Henry is seated at her one shoulder, Joey is round the other side flanked by the toddlers. Grandpa Joe who likes to take his teeth out during dinner is at the head of the table. The baby in her highchair even has a place. With Martha on the corner, getting up and down to serve the food, that spot becomes the most frayed.

And every meal we gather and eat and laugh and make merry, and in it all, though we do not know it, we are profoundly and deeply offensive. Not because making merry is bad, but because we are making common what is in fact a masterpiece.

Picnics are fun, they are also messy. With glasses spilled, ketchup dropping, mustard staining, baby’s throwing up, with the sun beating down, with sudden windstorms and maybe even rain, with forks jammed through the cloth by bored teens and initials scratched in the surface by a love struck ones… with hot pots set on its surface, candle wax dropping, cream and sugar spilled, pepper smearing… there is profound disrespect for the artwork and for the artist.

We don’t even know what we are doing.

And this is exactly what we have done with God’s art work. We kill, we lie, we lust, we covet, we hate, we despise, we gossip, we destroy, our hearts become toxic, we come with hidden agenda’s, we reach across the table to fix another’s table manners only to spill our own drink … And we don’t really get what we are doing.

Like those picnicking on the Mona Lisa we have no clue. It is only by the grace of God that we come to any understanding at all. Our hearts cannot perceive it. We have sat at our Mona Lisa tablecloth for too long. The picnic has been had.

It is the gospel story what comes next. God in his heartbroken and battered state, with disillusionment and grief, with full knowledge of the loss rises up to fight for us and for creation, for beauty and restoration. God sends a part of himself to cover the damage.

Jesus spreads himself out as our tablecloth over that table. The Mona Lisa is still there, the damage has been done, but God rises above the hurt to say, “Never mind, I will take care of it.”

We must eat, we must gather as before, but this time, for those who are aware of the deep insult to the heart of God, we accept and receive Jesus as the covering. It is in him we eat.

Jesus spreads himself out, covering over the offense done, making a new way, carrying the stains and the smears and the messes of our ketchup and relish and mustard. He says, “I’ll be the tablecloth, I’ll cover over your offense, come, sit and eat.”

And in this grace, as we accept deep contrition into our beings, we find companionship and community around the table as before yet even better. For this time it is in respect and honor of our creator, of the Master Artist and of the masterpiece sitting next to us. We recognize that we’ve been spoiling a great work of art and we are sorry.

And God replies, “I know, I’ve got it covered.”

Maturity – Part Two

210 compressedIt is the season for celebrating Christ. It’s a time for coming together to honor and worship our Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

And I’m thinking there is no better time to highlight the true saving grace of Jesus. He came, after all, to make everything different. He came to heal and to make whole. He came to save us in the deepest places of our hearts and minds.

My last post was about the stuck places of our lives. Of emotions frozen in time, of maturity stalled in place, and of perspectives chronically that of a child’s way of thinking.

I’ve witnessed and experienced time and again the healing of Jesus in the very deepest parts of our beings. But while I’ve witnessed many miracles I’ve also witnessed many tragedies.

There are not many things as tragic as individuals aging with frozen thoughts, hardened emotions, little empathy and certainly no grace. Entire lifetimes, decade upon decade, given over to lies and bitterness’ multiplied over and over.

The most horrible thing with the stuck places (you know how we used to call a record that would skip and skip on the same spot a broken record), when they are not healed there are grooves of negative and damaging thought trenched into our minds and hearts.

Like giant ruts in an exceptionally muddy road that dries and hardens, we cannot leave the ruts if we tried.

We simply continue in well-worn habits of thoughts and judgments and condemnations.

While all of it can be healed and we can be freed to mature and find great satisfactions in life many don’t seek healing. Perhaps they don’t know it exists.

I’ve been prayer ministering for some twelve years and in that time I have come to be convinced that prayer actually heals our brains.

That neurological set-points are freed from those trenches. That emotional default settings are transformed. That an individual’s brain is literally rewired into the beautiful and complete original image as created by God.

No longer do we react the same ways. Those buttons that used to send us into emotional high-jackings are simply not there any longer.

The expectations and lenses by which we expected the worst from life are removed and replaced with expectations that lead to life and miracle of all miracles we receive lenses that see the good and gracious of this world.

We are no longer victims to negative emotions but we are rather celebrants able to fully experience and romp in the beauty of every range of emotion. We are free.

Without maturity freed up to continue on its natural course we simply become rigid in our thinking. Our minds literally freeze into place, repeating like broken records the disappointments and the regrets, the losses and the injustices, as though talking about them non-stop will bring restitution. It never does.

The minds that I have personally witnessed that run on old hardened pathways end up in dementia and Alzheimers. Rigidity of thinking, like a record skipping but never rescued, goes on into eternity stuck in one place.

It is one of the saddest things to behold.

Thank-you Jesus that you came to save us from this place. Thank-You that you made a way, thank-you that you are The Way. Only in you are our minds covered in the oil of the lamb that keeps our thinking supple and flexible. Only in you are our hearts justified in our experience of emotions. And only in you are our negative and deadly experiences laid to rest at the cross, that we might get on with life.

Thank-you. We celebrate You this season.