Afternoon Coffee with God

This was transcribed from a prayer entry from my Moleskin journal. I visited a small coffee off of the PCH in Encinitas. I had a few hours to kill and I hadn’t had any time to write to God. I found this to be a great spot to do so. Also, since I did write this entry via pen and paper, it is intentional that this is scribed verbatim from the original source (grammar errors and all).

Cafe Ipe

What a beautiful day you have made! I am so blessed for what you have made for me. Thank you for the time where I’m able to just let in the presence of your creation. I really don’t know what to write. I know there are a lot of things on my heart I can easily seek for and ask—as you say I should ask… but I’m wondering if I can just come to you—to just speak to you—and to spend time with you. I know your love is great. I don’t want to come to you, God, for your stuff. I want to have the intention and and action to come to you just for you. I want to come to you with the faith and hope that it is your will for my life that can freely love for. I pray that I do not life for the happiness that you can bring, but recognize the pure joy I can partake with you because you came to save me and that you are always working for my good.

I want to be continually reminded of the blessings that came before me. As great as my memory is (in which you gave me), I continually forget about the good and always focus on the “what’s next”. I want you to infuse me of the true peace of your Spirit. I want to set myself aside—that I will not be an obstacle to your Holy Spirit, that I always yield to the Spirit at every test.

I guess I can’t stop thinking about this new quarter. You gave me something when I least expect it. And now I feel that pending sensation. This next quarter—spilling over to next year—is a time for preparation and a new inward growth. And I feel I’ll be frustrated at times. I am most likely going to fail and feel defeated, and I will be stretched then challenged in ways I cannot foresee. My emotions and physique may change—and it’s in a way you want me to change. It will be a time of inward organic growth.

And I know you will show me things—placed desires in me that I will work towards—but I know I will not be patient. Remind me, Father, that I am to be patient and grow through you every day. Remind me that you are the source of my joy. Through you I can be content. Through you I can live in peace. I will love. I will find self control. I will be patient.

Creator of the world you placed me in, I ask for even more wisdom. I ask for focus. Remove the things from my life that distracts me from the things you called me into.

I hope what I am feeling is a desire from you crafted in me. This idea that I am not rooted to any one place except to your heart—that you will call me and I will answer. That I may trust in you to provide all things—all things my body, mind, and soul long for—that it comes from you.

And give me a good rest that I can find in you. I pray these things in your Son’s name—Jesus Christ—Amen!

A ministry that started with muffins

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'”1

Thirteen weeks ago, I was engulfed in a story God wrote into my life where He explicitly showed me that He can and will place me wherever He wanted whenever He wanted. During that time there was the first night of worship at the Wilder conference held at Newsong2, God ignited a passion for the spiritually starved in a young woman’s heart. She left the night of worship early to go home and bake muffins. I’m unsure of exactly what God wrote on her heart, but from what I heard she wanted to reach out into the homeless of Santa Ana—not to just feed the people with food, but ultimately feed them with the love and justice of Jesus Christ.

I first heard about the outreach to Santa Ana early on when I joined Newsong. It was an idea that was in the hearts of the leaders at the church. When talking about where the new physical home of the church will be, there were always talks about going into Santa Ana. Everyone felt there was a huge calling that our church ought to dive in headfirst and do outreach to the lost and hungry in that city. But even with the murmuring with Santa Ana, I didn’t have the same heart as the leaders.

During Lent, a number of Newsong Young Adults held a 6AM morning prayer meeting twice a week. That is dedication from a group that most likely don’t sleep any time before midnight. I had to go check it out for two reasons: 1) who is crazy enough to pray at six in the morning; and 2) the girls constantly outnumbered the guys every morning.3. I witnessed amazing things happening almost every morning prayer. For one, I knew with absolute assurance and clarity when the Holy Spirit would speak to and for me. There were mornings where multiple prayer warriors would wake up without any assistance to get up and to pray as part of this community. There were times where a number of us would have vivid visions in dreams that occurred at the same time in the early mornings. The Holy Spirit would speak into our hearts and show us the same things so when it was time for us to share with one another, we would constantly share the same pieces of God’s living Word. This was happening. It was real. God was moving in our midst in prayer and communion. And it was there when we brought up the outreach to feed the homeless and needy of Santa Ana. But even with that prayer on our hearts, no one moved until muffins were made.

After Kiana baked muffins, she went out into Santa Ana with two other—Jane and Caleb—with the purpose of meeting individuals and showing their love of Christ. They understood their purpose. They were made to love and to show said love to all they would meet along their path.

I didn’t hear any of this until nearly a week later. There were two other girls in my small group—well, they’re both named Sarah—that wanted to do the same the following Saturday. When I found out that just the two girls were going, I absolutely insisted that I would go with them. I know that most likely absolutely nothing was going to happen, but earlier that month I was going on this weird chivalristic kick.4 I went with the Sarahs, and I pretty much just stood around being a mule and carrying food for them to distribute. I don’t do well making friends. I didn’t know what I was doing. When the girls needed food, I gave them food. When they asked me to lay hands and pray, I did just that. I figure this whole feeding ministry thing was just going to be a one-off kind of event. I was wrong.

The following week, the group became bigger. It consisted with the original group that started the week before, Sarahs and myself, and there were a number of others that heard about it (mainly through the morning prayer meeting) to come out and serve. More people from the young adults heard about it. More people came out. This happened week after week.

Both Kiana and Jane felt like they needed to pass the leadership torch of this Saturday morning feeding ministry. They passed it to Virginia—who seemed completely on fire and passionate about the ministry. She’s outgoing and loves connecting with people. The other leader? Well, yours truly. I couldn’t be more opposite of Virginia.

We immediately found connections to help us out with the ministry. There was a local church that reached out to the same area we were present every Saturday. They actually fed the people there for breakfast. What they didn’t have was the kind of group of people to go out there. So from the get go, we wanted to keep the vision simple and true to how it began—show the love of Christ by loving these people. We held on to the muffins as a catalyst to start a conversation We wanted to create meaningful relationships. We didn’t want to be a single-serving friend. We wanted to be a familiar face and that we can be accepted into their community and in turn tell them a love story that they are also accepted in the community with God’s family.

While Virginia worked the front-end of things such as increasing exposure so more young adults would come out as well as connecting with other people with the same heart to donate resources; I worked the back-end of things such as making this ministry official at Newsong and receiving our own church’s help. I also met another servant with the same heart for the same location at our church: Vinny. Vinny is very connected in the Santa Ana community and greatly aids us every week with free coffee and pastries from the local Starbucks.

It’s been an amazing three months serving in this ministry Saturday after Saturday. I don’t know how long this ministry will go. I don’t know how long I’ll be placed as a leader. The one thing about these people who are actively serving in this ministry is that we’re in this fluid life stage—post-college but not married. Many of these servants are still finding their identity and place in God’s story. It’s an amazing life stage because you really can do anything your heart’s desire. When we’re all in for something, we are all in for it. But without any real anchor (like family) keeping us in one place, we can move at a whim. This ministry—dubbed the Muffin Ministry—will not look the same today as it will be by summer’s end. About a third or more of the core group will not longer be serving just because they won’t even be in the area. Also, I don’t know how long the fire in their eyes will burn for this ministry. What do I need to do as a leader to prevent something feeling like a chore and keep them motivated that what we do here every week is out of love for our Savior?

The only constant I know is God. He placed us here in this place at this time to serve. I pray that He blesses me as well as the other leaders with a passion and wisdom to keep serving no matter where it takes us.

There are actually a number of stories that came out of this ministry. More of them need to be written, but here’s another blog.

  1. Matthew 25:34-40 NLT []
  2. Mar 16th, 2013. I also mentioned it briefly in Unexpected friends []
  3. I am doing my part to represent the young adult men in our church! []
  4. I was finding my identify of what it meant to be just a man. I figure one of qualities I failed to express is a “chivalristic” one—but really just as simple as being outward protective like walking a girl to her car in a dark parking lot, walking on the street side, facing the exits in rooms, etc. []

Small steps

I wrote this post to my 6AM Morning Prayer group while I was away in Hawaii on May 1st. I couldn’t help wonder and look in the recent past of all the blessings God has done in my life, yet I felt I was still missing something and unsure how to respond to that.

Hello prayer warriors!

As I mentioned in my last stream-of-thought post, I’m so excited to be part of such a loving and devoted community to both God and each other. We were all once broken, and in Him we are made new (2 Cor 5:17).

This has been on my mind since I flew out last Thursday. I’ve been figuring out how to organize these scattered thoughts, and this idea is nothing new under the sun, but it was something I was reminded of when I left after our morning prayer and pondered upon 38,000 feet over the Pacific. So I’m hoping for those who find themselves in a similar place will find this helpful.

This is in regards to those prayers our hearts deeply desire for and ask God to fulfill (Psalms 37:4). I found God answering some of my prayers and not others. I figure it’s one of those it’s His timing and not mine so I should continue to seek, pray, obey, and wait in patience. Then after that thought occurred for some reason almost every sermon, message, testimony I’ve heard over the years that talked how God will show you just a few steps ahead or light a lamp to see what’s just in front of you and not the full picture popped in my head. “Okay, yeah sure, heard that one before,” I thought.

I wondered why experience the bits and pieces at a time before finally getting to the end? Why put so much emphasis on the journey compared to the destination? But then I realized these bits and pieces is God answering my prayers… And doing so daily. These small steps we take through life is part of our learning and spiritual growth. I am not ready for what my heart desires. I had to ask myself how do I prepare to be ready? Do I really want just what the destination has in store for me, or is the bulk of my heart’s desire the journey itself? I discovered the roots of what I long for are the fruits of me changing and being more mature and righteous as Jesus Christ works in me (John 15:2,4).

The accumulation of walking these small steps with Christ will mature our spiritual growth and our hearts will be made ready. So for those of us running into uncomfortable conflict with the people we work, play, or live with, I pray we continue to lift each other up in Christ to give us the needed strength to take on any trial. We keep praying that we keep faith and endure through it all so we are made complete (James 1:4)

Again, I’m sure many of you heard this before, but I guess it was my turn to get this “ah-hah” moment. At the end of the night when I find myself another day away from my destination, I take comfort that Christ is always with me through the journey… Teaching, sculpting, pruning me to be the servant He wants me to be.

See you all next week!


Not my ideal circumstance

I know I haven’t posted much about my devotions, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing them.  I do them every single day.  I may have only completely missed doing a devotion possibly 3 times since I (re)started this task back in March or so.  I read a piece of insightful literature, I read the Word, I pray, and I listen every single morning.  Some mornings I manage to devote half an hour, others I manage to only get in 15 minutes, and very rarely (which I should do more often) I pray and contemplate for an hour.

I do this because I know I’m not where I should be—physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I don’t know what I want to do career-wise (makes it worst since current job hardly gives me any work as of late).  I still struggle with the same temptations and addictions first discovered years ago.  And I know I’ve forgotten what God’s subtle voice sounds like.

With that said, my prayers haven’t only been for myself and my search to discover His Will for me.  I had to be aware of where I currently am and pray for the people around me.  It wasn’t until during a Sunday evening service in the middle of summer that he told me whom I should be praying for.  It was a reminder we should always be practicing intercession.

Daily, I prayed for this one person.  I prayed that I would be the person that God would use to intervene and tell the story of His Word.  But not once was I ever put in an opportune situation to do so.  But without fail, I keep praying every day for her.  And as every day goes by when I get to that part of the prayer, I keep asking Him, “Why should I keep this prayer if I’m never given the opportunity to her about You?”  And today, I ran into this tidbit in my devotions…

The Undetected Sacredness of Circumstances1

The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God.  In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance.  God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands.  God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you.  Never put yourself in front of your circumstances and say, “I’m going to be my own providence here; I will watch this closely, or protect myself from that.”  All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique.  Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them.  In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints.

Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being vague and unsure, or by trying to do His work for Him?  I must do the human side of intercession—utilizing the circumstances in which I find myself and the people who surround me.  I must keep my conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit.  Then as I lift different ones to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for them.

Your intercessions can never be mind, and my intercessions can never be yours, “…but the Spirit Himself makes the intercession” in each of our lives (Romans 8:26).  And without that intercession, the lives of others would be left in poverty and in ruin.

And so, I will continue to pray.  I pray so that the Holy Spirit will intercede others around her and that they will gain the confidence to share His story.  I also pray that no matter what circumstance I find myself in—no matter how mundane or insignificant it may appear to be—that I listen to the Holy Spirit and do God’s Will to affect those who are around me.

  1. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, November 7th []


As I mentioned in another post, I remember missing out on my daily devotion once in the past four months.  I think that’s a pretty good streak.  I have been “blessed” with a good amount of time on my hands.  I’ve been out of work for most of the year—”in between projects”.  That means I’ve had a lot to think about in my free time (too much free time, in my opinion).

My prayers have been mostly about myself: struggles, lack of focus, financial trouble, etc.  It’s been about me.  I’m asking God to help me out anyway possible to get myself out of this rut.  I’ve been looking for affirmation for what decisions (which I believe are mostly mine) I should take that will determine my future.

Yup, my prayers have been pretty selfish.

I’m not a big fan of taking entire versus out of context, but if you’re familiar with the story of Job, check the last chapter in his book.  The Lord accepted Job’s prayer for his friends (Job 42:10).  Praying for one’s behalf is intercession.  I’ve never even realized this word is directly associated to praying to God in one’s behalf.

“Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other.  Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5)” -Oswald Chambers

So I’m trying something different (for the better) in my daily devotions.  No longer will I pray to God only for myself.  As a matter of fact, I’m going to try to pray to God for others only.  He knows in my heart what I truly desire, but I feel I should refocus my prayers for those around me.

I must not forget that ten-plus years ago someone did pray for me to come to Jesus.  Who knows how completely lost I would have been if that one Christian who knew me did not intercede.