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My Favorite Sermons

 

Top 10 Sermons: A Favorite Sermons List

I enjoy listening to sermons. Don’t you?  It’s like a shortcut to Revelation. I feel like I’m sometimes cheating.  Although I usually can get more revelation from meditating on a couple of verses then I can from two hours of sermons it still causes me a lot of growth. So, here is what I’ve been enjoying lately:

  1. Graham Cooke, as of right now I am listening to his Faith Series. There is a lot of his stuff available on Amazon (and many offered for free through Prime music). The amount of freedom that I feel after listening to Cooke is unlike any other pastor I listen to.
  2. Mike O’Connell series on Power of Words. This man is an undiscovered wealth of wisdom & revelation. The accent helps, but seriously he has a teaching anointing. You not only receive revelation, but also a strong handle on how to walk it out.
  3. Art Katz – An Israelite in Whom There is No Guile. Love this Jewish man. This message in particular is so relevant to our generation as social media is all about “guile”.
  4. Shane Willard-Life, Light, & Increase. This pastor studied under a messianic Jewish rabbi. His revelation because of this is like nothing you’ve ever heard. Amazing insights that are thrilling to the soul.
  5.  John Maxwell- Failing Forward Not exactly a sermon, but this teaching took my breath away. I wish I had heard this a long time ago. Maxwell is a pastor that has resonated in the business world. All of his material is biblically-based and drawn, but it doesn’t sound like your usual Sunday morning. If you are more into reading than listening, you can buy a copy of Failing Forward cheap on Amazon. 
  6. A Defense of Imprecatory Prayers – Robert Gonzales. Due to some pervading issues that a friend has had with wounded evil family attacking her, I have begun to research praying these strange prayers of David where He asks God to do things like break his enemies teeth. This was a great explanation.
  7. John Maxwell – How to Connect With People. Practical evangelism. Awesome 30 minute sermon on something we suck at. Seeing, and connecting with others. This book on this topic looks great.
  8. Katie Souza – Banking on the Glory Lady with a serious testimony and serious anointing. This series on finances is the best thing I’ve heard by her so far. She has a lot more material here and on YouTube. Her teaching on healing the soul is fresh.
  9. Mike Bickle – Deep Unto Deep . Old series, but so good.
  10. The Narcissist. A more specific issue, but this sermon speaks into the issue of narcissism, especially if you’ve suffered through the issue of a family member who is a narcissist.

 

 

 

IHOP-KC: love Covers & lens changes

IHOP-KC, Lens Changes, & Love Covers

Lens Changes

I don’t know if you’ve ever had an eye exam or are familiar with the process. But the last part that gets you to clear vision involves you staring at a chart some distance away while the optometrist flips different lenses over your eyes one at a time.

“Clearer now….or now? Okay now this one…or that one?”

The chart remains unchanged and slowly lens change after lens change you come to your right prescription to have perfect vision.

Graham Cooke was who made me think of this. He has a series called: Mind of a Saint. In this series, he says that we go through many “lens changes” throughout our walk with Christ and that this is how we go from glory to glory.

I thought about the physical process of lens changes and it made some sense analogically to me. You see, I have gone through lens changes in my journey already any times. Different teachers, ministries, biblical focuses & interpretations have all been flipped down over my perception of the unchanged truth in my vision.

To some these lenses would not seem right. If my husband put on my glasses, they would hinder his vision and would probably give him a headache. If I wore the glasses I wore 5 years ago, my vision would not be as clear as it should.

IHOP-KC was a lens for me that allowed me to see the unchanging truth in a beautiful light. This lens highlighted contemplation, worship, and the romance of God. Many years later, this lens is not what it was to me, but I regret in my ignorance being critical of this beautiful lens that escorted me to another level of glory & that highlighted some beautiful facets of my Triune God.

IHOP-kc’s focus and ministry may not be the lens that some need right now (or ever), but that’s not to say that it should be dismissed or called heretical because it is not the lens appropriated for some.

Love Covers

In my Facebook feed, I saw a fellow sister in Christ being critical of a high level pastor. This pastor has been a lens that God has used greatly as a lens change when it comes to the truth of grace.

I walked away from IHOP-KC with blurred vision on the issue of grace The lens that they gave me was not correctly suited to my particular weakness of sight when it comes to grace. My poor sight of this very important issue was giving me great spiritual “headaches”. And so my heavenly optometrist of the eyes of my understanding flipped a lens gently over my eyes so that I could see clearly the beauty and acceptance of His merciful grace. This lens change cleared from my vision the blur of works and condemnation that unfortunately were remnants of my previous set of lenses.

So when I saw this teacher that God had used being criticized and really dogged in the comments (by what seemed like Christians), it made me think about how I had not been merciful to IHOP.

God is gentle in His leadership. When I hear His voice, I am amazed at the rose-colored glasses He wears when He looks at me. He edifies me and tells me the good that He sees in me RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF TERRIBLE SIN & FAILURE. His love breaks my heart. But He sees me “IN CHRIST” where He put me. He sees who I will be not who I am in all my weakness & failure.

And this is where He has put all of His church. We need His eyes. & His heart when we talk about pastors & ministries. His love covers. It’s like he has this automatic Gaussian blur filter better than any magazine cover shot that removes all the flaws and inconsistencies from His view. In His sight we are perfect and he speaks lovingly to us AND ABOUT US.

He is talking about you within the trinity …to others like your loved ones or that person you just had a falling out with. He’s talking about you with kindness and love. He’s reminding them of your good qualities and the things that make you uniquely beautiful.

Why can’t we do this for each other within the body? Maybe we don’t know that this is the way God looks at us, speaks to us, thinks of us…relates to us. If we understood that this was the way He relates to us, maybe we would relate to others within the body this way.

I don’t think we should hide abuse. We should address hurt in a biblical way. But I know that I have smeared big church pastors because I didn’t completely agree with their methods, interpretation, or presentation probably in the name of “speaking truth in love”. But the truth about us is God’s view that sees our potential and sees us through the veil of the perfection of Christ.

I repent for speaking criticisms into my social network & sphere for the purpose of cutting down and highlighting weaknesses & immaturity. For someone, that ministry is the lens that he or she need. I pray that we will all be able to not just speak about our brothers & sisters (individually & corporately) in a loving, generous, and merciful way but to think about them this way in our hearts. I pray that we would grow to understand they way that God extends mercy to us & extend this same mercy to others.

Slow Down Pregancy Weight Gain by Changing Only One Habit

slow pregnancy weight gain

Slow Down Pregnancy Weight Gain by Changing Only One Habit

I needed to slow down pregnancy weight gain.  I started this one habit when I had been gaining weight too quickly during my current pregnancy. I had slow pregnancy weight gaingotten a “talking to” about gaining too fast and the dangers of that. The result? After a month, my doctor gave me an “A” at my next visit for weight gain, baby growth, and all other aspects. I only started doing one thing: Eating two apples a day, at night. Here’s why I think it slowed down my weight gain.

1.  Apples are hydrating. Hunger and cravings are sometimes confused for thirst.  Especially during pregnancy, we get extra thirsty.  Eating those juicy apples really satisfied this possibly misplaced craving.

 

2. Apples are low in calories- between 50 and 75 calories in a whole apple. I was watching my caloric intake and substituting apples instead of other nighttime snacks really reduced the number of calories I ate each day.  I might still have a couple chocolates but not near as many.

 

3. Apples are full of fiber, aka filling. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.”  This has many other benefits that are helpful during pregnancy such as keeping you regular.

 

4. Apples take time.  At night, I will slice the apple into thin slices.  This way, I can  still mindlessly nibble while watching television, but my snacking is beneficial rather than adding to pregnancy weight gain.  Not only does it take time to wash and cut the apples, eating them can also be a time-consuming process with them sliced this way.

The benefits of eating apples are well documented and include things like detox, boosting immune system, and improving heart health.  That’s great. But I’m especially thankful that they saved me anymore “talks” from the doc.

Wordless Wednesday: Kansas City Style

Wordless Wednesday: Kansas City Style

Most of my Wordless Wednesday pics were taken on our trip to Kansas City to visit the International House of Prayer in KC. Passion for Jesus is my favorite IHOP-KC conference. This past weekend, mom, sofia, and I attended PFJ.  I’m too broke for weekend getaways, but mom offered to pay.  And we had cheap room and board thanks to our friend Audra Lynn.  Isn’t her place so cute?
wordless wednesday audra
Normal people have loose change on their dryer. I guess musicians like Audra have guitar picks…

wordless wednesday audra

Discovered a new drink that I love. Kombucha. It has 4 BILLION probiotic cells!! I came home and bought like 8 bottles to drink each day. It made me feel energetic and healthy.

wordless wednesday kombucha

Got to see Sofia interact with a lot of different kids. At the IHOP-KC conference, they had a parent-supervised play room. It had a big screen where parents could still watch the teaching or worship, but the kids got to play & crawl around. Sofia was so funny. She’s not really aware of personal space. She just crawls up to other babes, puts her face inches from their face and stares at them, studying them. It was hilarious to watch.

wordless wednesday playtime

My good friends & sisters in Christ, Diane and Nadiyah. Miss them so much! We stayed up talking and laughing for hours.

wordless wednesday sisters

On the ride home, Sofia was POOPED. She met so many new & different people. Saw her first afro (2 actually). LOL! And picked up a new skill, probably from all the hours of worship-CLAPPING! So cute.
wordless wednesday pooped

Today, Sofia discovered a new food she loves. Iceberg Lettuce! She has a mouth full of it here.

wordless wednesday lettuce

Love wins, Boston.

love winsLove wins, Boston.

I don’t have much time to write. But as a runner, I felt I should write a post about this tragic event. It’s days like today that I just want to keep the tv off, stick my head in the sand, or my fingers in my ears, hands over eyes. It’s sickening. My heart and prayers go out to Boston along with a message of comfort and hope: love wins.

At the finish line.

These runners have looked forward to this day, trained for months, maybe years (because it takes a lot to qualify for Boston). And now their victory has turned into tragedy. Good has been afflicted by evil.

I sat at the table hearing Fox News loop the story over & over, I felt the strangest feeling. Stephen Venable once said that the end times wouldn’t just come like flipping a switch. Like “and we’re in the end times….Now”. There will be a transition, a gradual shift like the changing of the seasons. As I sat at the table, doing my bible study for Thursday’s women’s group, I experienced the strange awareness of a shift in season. The news story anchors voice like the cold north wind.

Here it comes.

The dark will get darker. Evil will abound. But oh, beloved, the light will get brighter. He’s going to set us ablaze with passion & power. We, the trophies of His mercy, will be the vessels of hope at the end of the age. So, when we hear these stories, don’t feel defeated. The story’s already been written.

And love wins.

Learning Contentment in the Changing Seasons

Learning Contentment in the Changing Seasons

Outside there’s the sound of coyotes.  I imagine them all chasing after some creature, working together frantically in the night as a team, letting out howls of excitement as they run.  Hope it’s not one of our baby cows, I think.  I would get up to look, but I’m nursing Sofia, my 8 month old, in the dark.  I’m in the “nursery”. It’s really a living room that we converted to a nursery making a wall out of a curtain. Here I am in Oklahoma, in the dark of a make-shift nursery, breastfeeding a baby and thinking about coyotes and cows.  This wasn’t where I expected to be. But I’m here and I’m Learning Contentment in the Changing Seasons

God keeps changing the season in this journey of life, in my Christian walk.  It seems that as soon as I get acclimated to one season, He switches it up to a completely different season with completely different struggles & challenges, different rewards & joys.  I find myself during the beginning of the current season doing two things: longing for the season before & chasing after the season ahead.

Learning Contentment in the Changing Seasons: The Season Before

Before, I was at IHOP-KC a mission base and church in Kansas City often called a cult because of it’s tight-knit community.  My day was scheduled up to the minute including 6 hours a day for prayer.  I lived with a group of women on fire for God always ready to pray, talk about the Word, worship, or even dance.  Always. Any time. Day and Night I was connected to fellowship.  Day and night I was provoked by a group of men and women-runners after God.

But in the night hours, I cried inside myself giving my deepest prayers to God. Two things: To be restored to my father (we were estranged at the time) and to meet my husband.  This second prayer was even stronger in my heart than the first.  I prayed for many things in that season, but none gripped my heart with the pain of longing like this one.  I longed for the next season not realizing, at times taking for granted the bliss of the season I was in.

Learning Contentment in the Changing Seasons: Current SeasonLearning Contentment in the Changing Seasons

The next season,  I had a smaller group of believers in the little Texas town of Abilene. These girls: Caitlin, Sue, Cara…they kept me sane. My heart was aching for two things: my friends in KC and my husband that I hadn’t met. Then I met him! He was so amazing.  Not exactly what I had imagined but he was the puzzle piece that matched mine. His strengths helped my weaknesses, his light highlighted my dark areas, his bumps fit my grooves.

Speaking of that, the baby came soon after marriage.  Sooner than we expected.  So, the living arrangement that we thought would be temporary is still our current reside.  The financial strain and not having our own  home has been hard. At times, I’ve asked God “why?” I don’t understand why we can’t meet financial responsibilities. As Christians, it seems God would want us to?

Over a year of living in Oklahoma, and I still don’t have one Oklahoma friend. I call my friends in KC, Abilene, Hoptown and my heart-Bekah from time to time…but I don’t have present, tangible fellowship. A lot of the reason is probably because of starting marriage and a family, but it still feels like such a void especially after my background. I find myself often watching the services of IHOP-KC and the prayer room wondering why God had me leave KC and if I’ll ever go back.

Learning Contentment in the Changing Seasons: The Next Season

I imagine the next season to be a season where we will have a home and be able to breathe a little easier financially.  It will be a season where I can balance married life and being a mom along with pursuing godly fellowhip with men and women at my church. And I imagine it will be missing something, perceptively.  My grandmother said the “broke times” as a couple were the years that you would always remember as the best.  That’s hard for me to imagine now, but I know that it’s probably true.  I try to think of those words now during the hard times.  I try to laugh and kiss Paul a little harder, hold Sofia a little tighter. One day, I may long for these moments.  When I get what I thought I wanted.

I think in all this reflection that I am “learning contentment” as Paul wrote.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Ph 4:11

God is teaching me many things in this season that I have never learned before. This is just one of them. I’m thankful. I’m thankful  for this season.  God help me in learning contentment.

So, how about you?  Are you learning contentment?  Or do you know the secret to learning contentment?

Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?

Found this study interesting…

Abstract

Dietary restriction is an effective strategy for weight loss in obese individuals. The most common form of dietary restriction implemented is daily calorie restriction (CR), which involves reducing energy by 15-60% of usual caloric intake every day. Another form of dietary restriction employed is intermittent CR, which involves 24 h of ad libitum food consumption alternated with 24 h of complete or partial food restriction. Although both diets are effective for weight loss, it remains unknown whether one of these interventions produces superior changes in body weight and body composition when compared to the other. Accordingly, this review examines the effects of daily CR versus intermittent CR on weight loss, fat mass loss and lean mass retention in overweight and obese adults. Results reveal similar weight loss and fat mass loss with 3 to 12 weeks’ intermittent CR (4-8%, 11-16%, respectively) and daily CR (5-8%, 10-20%, respectively). In contrast, less fat free mass was lost in response to intermittent CR versus daily CR. These findings suggest that these diets are equally as effective in decreasing body weight and fat mass, although intermittent CR may be more effective for the retention of lean mass.

© 2011 The Author. obesity reviews © 2011 International Association for the Study of Obesity.

Fast, Fresh, Five #1: Greek Yogurt Parfait

greek yogurt fruit snack

Recipes that are Fast to make, Using Fresh ingredients, and Five or less ingredients

I’ve been trying to cut out processed crap!  But I don’t have time to whip up some fancy, complicated recipe.  It’s gotta be fast–that I can make fast & eat fast.  With a little crawler, that’s a necessity.  But I don’t want to compromise my health by eating junk.  My solution? Stuff like this:

Greek Yogurt Parfait

1. Plain greek yogurt

2. Fruit: I use a frozen blend

3. Sliced almonds (walnuts and pecans are good too)

4. Honey

5. Cinnamon

Get a small bowl. Put some greek yogurt in first.  Top with frozen fruit and almonds. Drizzle with honey. Top  with cinnamon. Done. Easy. This is great when you are craving sweets or ice cream.

greek yogurt fruit snack

Bonus! I made a little serving for Sofia.  Only I just used yogurt, banana, and cinnamon. Yum! You know you’re eating fresh when you can share snacks with your baby.