Monday, April 30, 2012

"C7, Did I Hit Your Battleship?"

Yesterday after church I’ll admit all I wanted to do was to take a nap. However my youngest had other ideas in her mind. She let me sleep for a bit, and then kept waking me up because she was bored. She really wanted to play a game with her, and alas eventually I relented to her cuteness over ‘checking my eyelids for holes.’ However the game she really wanted to play was Battleship. This surprised me because quite frankly my youngest, who will soon be turning six, is not the type of kiddo with a long attention span and the kind of mind that would think complex strategies. The game is a tad over her age span. So I did my best continuing to repeat myself on how one plays the game and I was thinking she had the general idea. So we began. It was obvious this kiddo hadn’t quite understood the game when she started asking me the same coordinates over and over again. Then she’d hit one of mine and not really attempt to sink it. Finally I began to realize that 99% of all of my calls were misses. “Are you telling mommy the truth? Is that really a miss?” “Yes Mom!” About a half hour into this I was getting frustrated. I knew she wasn’t really playing the game but had resorted to just tell me “miss” even though I knew something had to have been a hit. We finally agreed to end the game, and my suspicions had been correct. I kept hitting things and she kept telling me I was missing them. I’ll admit I was getting a tad frustrated. Many people have this skewed concept of God that much like my youngest He’s randomly telling you to do the same things over and over. Many people have this feeling that no matter how many times you ask something the answer is always no, and He’s not being fair. But God is simply not like that. God is a good and just God. He does not dangle your destiny in your face only to move it when you get close. God isn’t setting up on His throne in heaven saying, “hahaha Made you look!” God created you for purpose and He is yearning you fulfill it. It’s no wonder with this skewed idea why many people give up on the things of God just like I did on the Battleship game. Thinking that God is doing that can get frustrating and it’s easy to wonder what is the point? Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has good plans for you because He loves you! Keep trusting Him! He wants you to have a future and a hope. If you’re pursing a life for Him then the idea is that you’re working with Him and for Him. You’re not working against Him. You and He are a team. So take a moment, and realize ….if God is for you, really who can be against you (Romans 8:31). Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't Fall Asleep On The Treadmill!

Yes, I usually write blogs Monday and Wed, but this story is fresh in my mind so I guess you’re getting my biweekly blog back to back this week.  Dan and I have been working out together when we can at the gym that the company he works for has for their employees. While I’m usually an elliptical girl for my cardio, yesterday I decided to take the treadmill next to him and go for a jog with him. About at minute 13 I decided to close my eyes. I want to be very clear here that in my head I only closed my eyes for a minute. I was getting into the zone. Really I was, but the next thing I knew I hear Dan yelling at me! “Ann! Ann!” I opened my eyes in a jerk long enough to fall off the side of the treadmill, in a rolling heap, jump back on in a full stumble trip landing, and start laughing so hard I could barely walk. Really, if I’d had a fake side panel of judges judging my dismount and reentry I had to have scored an 8 for recovery alone. “You fell asleep jogging!” Dan was laughing hysterically. We both were looking around the room grateful that none of his coworkers had seen me. “I did not fall asleep!” I was laughing and jogging so hard I could barely make the words out. “I was in the zone!” “You fell asleep!” We were both laughing so hard it was hard to keep jogging. Despite this and the story I fell asleep while swimming the backstroke as a child I would like to state that I’m not narcoleptic. How many times in life do we all suffer from spiritual narcolepsy? We get so used to the motions that we simply stop feeling and start falling asleep. It’s like we go through life just going through the motions, and deep down we’re really asleep. Romans 13:11 (NKJV) [ Put on Christ ] And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Wake up people! God doesn’t want us merely going through the motions of life. He wants us to be awake and alive with passion. He wants us to press forward towards the goals. Sometimes in order to do that you need to change your routine. If you’re doing the same thing the same ways change it up a bit. Sometimes we grumble and complain because we find ourselves in uncomfortable places, but I find it’s when we are the most uncomfortable is when we grow the most. Being too comfortable can lull you to sleep if you let it. Pick up the pace and wake up! If you find yourself sleeping on the treadmill WAKE UP! Stir up what God has called you to do, spend some time with God, and wake up! Don’t just go through the motions! Let this be a wakeup call that God wants you to live life. He doesn’t want you stuck on autopilot! Remember, God has awesome plans for your life. So wake up, and get excited!

Monday, April 23, 2012

See People

I’m five weeks into my Southern Book Tour now. Standing at book signings and talking to people has been an exciting and fun thing. As I’ve mentioned before going into a secular book store with a Christian book is and can be like a sea of going into a shark’s lair but as a whole the questions, stares and conversations don’t bother me. Many people actually want to shake my hand whether they’re in the church or not. When they hear what the book is about, I’ve had the most tattooed dark haired Goth looking people get excited at the message. Sadly the concept of Christians being hypocritical is something people agree on, and their just glad someone who is a Christian is saying it. Truthfully I think: the guy who tried to start an argument with me on Healthcare reform, or the lady who had missed my point and later I discovered was of the B’aih faith, or the Christian Science lady - just makes for good stories. Yesterday I sat in front of the Hunger Games books and got to talk to a woman about hearing the voice of God. She was a believer and very receptive to what I had to say. What gets to me are the countless people who walk by and don’t even notice the world around them. Books-A-Million has been nice to bake cookies for customers when I’m around. So I put them at my table. Often, I’m just giving people a free cookie. I am shocked at the amount of people that walk by me, and never really heard me. So many times I’ve smiled and said, “Have a nice day.” Just to hear someone mutter, “Oh, I don’t need anything!” After years of working in retail, I don’t take these things personal, but it just surprises me how much people have stopped seeing the world around them. They’re so caught up in their own personal orb of space that they just don’t see people. I honestly don’t think it’s on purpose. I’ll admit I do it myself sometimes. When Jesus was on the earth He flowed with such signs, wonders, and miracles. He didn’t just confine His word to the synagogue. He saw the people around Him hurting and needing a miracle. In Acts 3 when the lame man is healed at the Gate Beautiful. Peter saw him, and knew He needed a touch of God’s power. I suppose sometimes it’s easier just to go throughout our lives and ignore the people around us, but is that what Jesus would have done? I don’t claim perfection in this area, but I’m trying to see people more. I’m trying to stop being so caught up in my own world so that maybe God can use me to change someone’s live today. May I can be used by God to be the answer to someone’s prayer. A smile can change someone’s day. A free cookie can mean the world to some. We have to start seeing people in the world. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. So get Excited!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Mom Likes Tootsie Rolls!"

Years ago while still in high school, I can remember struggling with something in my Christian walk. It really annoyed me when someone started to talk about “having to praise God, or tell Him how good He was.” The way it was coming across was doing that just so you the person could get blessed and I didn’t get it. It sounded rather manipulative to me. Also I kept asking God, “Why do I have to tell you how awesome you are? Surely you know because you’re God! Really God, do you have an ego problem that you have to be reminded of all of this?” I suppose that me being this honest about struggling with this is making some of you laugh, but follow me for a moment here.

Then one day as I was setting in World Harvest Church in Columbus, OH, I can remember I felt as if the Holy Spirit whooshed over me and suddenly my issues with this seemed to fizzle away and disintegrate before my very eyes. It was as if I could feel the Holy Spirit drop deep down within me, “It’s just like a parent. Your parents want you to come back and say, ‘I love you, and you always know what is best for me’. That’s why you are praising God like this. You’re being His child, and loving on Him. Your gratitude just bubbles up and bubble over.

Truthfully this story has stayed way back in the files of memory of my mind for years, until the other day. Some years ago my oldest started giving me tootsie rolls. She knows I like them, and if she got one here and there, whether it be through school, or a random treat, she started to save one here and there for me. I find this absolutely sweet. I’ll usually only take one at a time and make her take the rest. Then recently my youngest started going through her stash and doing the same. I don’t ask them to do this, it’s just something they started doing on their own. They know I like tootsie rolls, so because they want to bless me they give one to me randomly. They don’t do this out of obligation. They do it because their my kids and they love me.

Isaiah 12:5“Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

When we praise the Lord and give Him thanks we shouldn’t do it out of obligation. But because we are so grateful, so thankful, so bubbling over with love for our daddy in heaven that we have no choice but to let it out. My kids know I like tootsie rolls so they give me tootsie rolls. God loves to hear ‘thank you’s’ and praises to Him. So because we’re His children it should be on the tip of our tongues. We should be like my girls with the tootsie rolls. We should constantly be looking for ways to bless God. Not because we feel obligated but because we just love Him so much. If you are His child, you will want to thank Him.
He’s a good God! Let us praise Him and thank Him for how good He is.

Here’s a video of a song I grew up singing……
Just like with my kids and the tootsie rolls, when they do something so precious for me, I want to bless them. This isn’t manipulation, but this is the relationship of a parent to a child. Remember He awesome plans for your life. Thank Him, and Get Excited!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Are you REALLY a writer?

Greetings all my super fabulous people! It was a very busy past several days, and I am excited to get to share with you! On Wednesday I got to preach at Freedom Life Church in Kissimmee ( ), which was an awesome treat for me. On Thursday I sat on a Roundtable for God Day ( if you haven’t heard of it, God Day is going to take place on 12/12/12 in Orlando, FL. I’m very excited about it and I recommend you check out the website. On Friday I had a book signing and radio interview in Ormond Beach, and on Saturday I had a book signing at the Books-A-Million in Sanford.

My book signing on Saturday didn’t sell as many as I’m used to, but there must have been an anointing that day for starry eyed young girls who got to meet a writer. I think the purpose of me going there was filled. I had three different young women come up to me with admiration in their eyes asking me, “Are you really really really a writer?”

“Yes,” I nodded to reassure them. Each young girl filled with her own questions, I did my best to answer them as best as I could. I have a passion for inspiring people to do and pursue their God given destiny, and often find myself sharing with people the journey I have been on.

Truthfully though when people give me that kind of admiration sometimes it makes me nervous. There are days I want to wear a big sign that says, “Really I am nothing special. It’s only the Jesus in me.” There are days where I just want to post a picture of me getting up in the morning with Lion-o esk hair and say, “Look I’m not perfect, or important. Don’t see me or follow me, but follow the Jesus in me.”

At the end of the day I don’t want people to desire to be like me, but I want them to desire to be the best them that God created them to be on the earth. I suppose if I can inspire people to do that, then I’m doing what Christ did. He pointed people to His Father!

I think Paul must have struggled with this to some extent.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

Whether you realize it or not, God has people in your life that you can inspire. There are people God will use you to touch that I couldn’t and vice versa. You need to be an inspiration for your daddy in Heaven wherever you go! Ministry doesn’t just happen from the pulpit. You can be in ministry whatever you do. When Jesus gave us all the great commission (Matthew 28:19) He didn’t say go and make disciples only in the church. He said go and make them in ALL NATIONS. Inspire people around you not to be just like you, inspire them to be pointed toward heaven. If their looking at you, let them really be looking at the Jesus in you. Remember He has awesome plans for your life, and the lives of the people around you. Inspire someone today! Get Excited!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Bag In The Bush

Last Saturday while I went to my book signing in Leesburg, Dan took the kids to Calvary Assembly for an Easter Egg hunt and other events that were happening on the grounds. When I came home I heard all about the pony rides, the hanging donut my youngest kept trying to eat, and waiting in line for face painting.

Dan relayed to me that he’d forgotten to bring the girls’ Easter baskets. I would have done the same thing. I guess at first he thought the girls wouldn’t be able to get eggs because they didn’t have any container to hold them in. So he tried to explain to them, “Guys I’m sorry, maybe another time.” The girls were disappointed and he felt bad. He told me that as he began walking back to the car, he happen to look in a bush, and someone had left a plastic grocery bag there. It was perfect to give to the youngest and let her hunt Easter eggs. Sure some may call it a coincidence, or maybe littering, but that bag allowed my youngest to get eggs. There was a need and it was provided.

Philippians 4:19(ESV)
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Maybe something so small as a grocery bag in a bush doesn’t make you excited but Dan really felt it was a provision he really wanted.

So often we neglect the small things in life. We neglect to be thankful that we have a roof over our head and food in our bellies, when we’re believing for other things. If we’re not careful we can sound ungrateful. It’s like saying, “Sure God, I’m happy you helped me get gas in my car today…but what about this? Or that? “ Spend some time today thanking Him for the little things. Thank Him that you have a boss, even if you may not always like him. Be thankful you have a car, even if you think it should have been replaced years ago. Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for Him!

Psalm 57:9I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.

Be encouraged that God meets your needs. If you are His kiddo, He’ll take care of you. You just have to trust Him. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get Excited!

~*~*~*~ OH and BTW, this Friday is the radio interview! IF you get a chance I will be on the radio from 10-12, and you can hear this anywhere in the world from I don't know if I'll be on the whole two hours or just a portion. But would love for you to take a listen :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Passion Play Through The Eyes of A Child

I hope you all had an amazing Resurrection Weekend. He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed.

On Friday my family and I had the awesome privilege to view the “Savior” an original modern passion musical about Jesus, His life, fulfillment of prophesy, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. It was performed at Calvary Assembly in downtown Orlando.

My daughters sat transfixed to the stage. They loved it. My youngest who is 5 kept turning to me with questions, and statements that as an adult I thought were the cutest things in the world. I’ll admit I might be a little bias, but her passion and enthusiasm made me think.

When Jesus was being beaten she looked at me with almost tears in her eyes. When the narrator said they spit at him, compassionately she said, “Oh mommy, that’s not nice. If I would have been there I would have given him a hug.” I was grateful that throughout these scenes the action and beating was taking place behind a scrim and only shadows could be seen, so that the audience couldn’t view how brutal it was.

“I know sweetie. It wasn’t nice.” I was trying to talk to her, because I could see how upset she was. “I would have given him a hug too.” I held her close. She needed the hugs.

When Jesus resurrected and the audience viewed the actor really for the first time, my daughter got animated again. “Mommy!” she cried, “Is that the real Jesus? Is that really him?” I could see she wanted to run up on stage to this unsuspecting actor. She was ready to go hug him. Her passion warmed my heart.

“No sweetie. That’s just an actor playing Jesus.”

“But Mommy,” she tried to argue. “He looks like Jesus!” I was trying not to chuckle at her cuteness and went on to try to explain that Jesus lives in Heaven, and when we ask him into our lives he lives in our hearts.
I knew by watching my daughter the gospel came more alive to her on Friday than ever it had before. Her childlike passion and love was obvious. I kept thinking about the words of Jesus and what he spoke about childlike faith.

Matthew 18:3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Why is it that as adults so often we tend to get jaded? Maybe we’ve gone through and scene Easter weeks, Christmas, and grumpy people so much. Maybe the routines of life tend to get to us and slowly if we’re not careful the child likeness of our faith gets chocked out of us like a vice grip. In the moments of watching the passion through the eyes of my 5 –year-old I couldn’t help but be moved to tears by her faith. She was inspiring me to see the passion in her eyes. I was moved to tears.

Having childlike faith doesn’t mean we’ll be children for the rest of our lives. It means that when God tells us something we’ll simply believe it. It means that we don’t let the things of this world pile us down with weights. It means we continue to strive to not get caught up in rhetoric and routines, but come back to the simplicity of loving our father in heaven, and wanting nothing more than to climb up in his lap. It is in this manner God wants us to come to him: Simply, not complicated, and childlike into His arms. Let innocence inspire you, to do greatness in the Kindom. Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beware of Birds Stealing Your Lunch

While I was at the book signing on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Dan took the girls to the beach at Treasure Island. I had packed them a lunch of peanut butter / jelly sandwiches and other snacks. The way I saw it was a good excuse for some quality time with the girls and their dad. The story that I’m about to relate is what Dan told me. But I couldn’t resist telling this story, because there is a good lesson in it.

Dan was telling me that when he and the girls stopped to have their picnic on the beach, he took out the food and they began to settle down and eat. He had his sandwich and he wasn’t paying attention. He would take a bite and look the other direction. Suddenly he felt something jar him quickly and he turned to his sandwich and it was still in his hand. He thought “huh, that’s odd.” So he took another bite and turned his head. Like a shock wave, he felt it again. This time either the bird was too slow, or Dan was too fast because he saw the seagull. It had spotted Dan and his sandwich and kept waiting until he turned to take a bite. Who knew that seagulls had a love of peanut butter and jelly?

The Bible is clear that there is a real enemy out there to us.

John 10:10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The devil wants to steal or stuff, destroy us and kill us. What typically happens is he’ll find areas in our life that maybe we’ve turned our spiritual attention away from and sneak up on us. He is a thief. The good news is we have authority over him. Jesus gave it to us in Luke 10:19 (there are many scriptures to back this up).

What happened with Dan on the beach didn’t keep happening. Dan saw the bird stealing his sandwich and he moved. He ate it. He did something so the bird couldn’t keep stealing his food. You have to learn to do something when you recognize a tactic of the enemy. You can’t just keep on letting him steal your stuff. But you have to speak forth, “In Jesus name, you have to stop!”

Easter or Resurrection Sunday is coming up this week. May it be a reminder of how awesome God is. How Jesus was brutally murdered on the cross for our sins, beat up the devil and rose again. May it be a reminder that we don’t have to let the enemy come in and steal our stuff. The authority has been given to us. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Divine Happenings In A Small Christian Bookstore

On Saturday Dan, myself, and the girls drove to St. Petersburg, FL. I had a book signing and Dan took the girls to the beach. The book store was cute, and the owner was very nice but my first reaction wasn’t one of excitement. I began to get a tad worried. After Dan took the girls, I realized there weren’t a whole lot of people coming in and out of this store. As I mentioned last week going into a Books-A-Million store, those are fun because you get a lot of traffic at your table and it’s a real chance to be in the marketplace ministering, but in this situation that wasn’t the case.

So I walked around the store praying, I sat praying, and I kept thinking “Did I miss it God?” I was there for an hour and I don’t think I shared with anyone about my book, and I began to tell myself this wasn’t wasted time but a lesson well learned. That maybe I should have prayed more before putting my book tour together. I reasoned within myself that at least my family was having a fun afternoon and so it wasn’t a loss.

About an hour into this book signing a group of ladies came into the store and I started talking with one of them. I could feel right away there was a real God connection with her.

“So do y’all live around here?” I asked.

“We live in Miami.” She responded. Immediately my ears perked up. I had been asked by my publisher to go to a bookstore in Miami, and scheduled it in May. Really I scheduled it in faith because Miami is a bit of a drive from me and I wanted to turn it into a weekend where I could preach somewhere down there. As of that moment I hadn’t found anyone who would listen to me.

“Do you know of anywhere that would let me come and minister?” I asked her.

She smiled, “Well, I’m going to buy your book and I’ll talk to some people.” That was the end of the conversation about all that. She bought my book. I thanked her. It was only when I signed it did I realize she was a Pastor. She left the store.

About a half an hour went by, and in the window I could see her and a man with her coming back through the parking lot.

“Anna,” she started as they paused by my table. “I want to introduce you to my pastor.” It was then that the whole story came out. Her pastor from Miami was in town ministering at a revival. When she spoke to me earlier she didn’t know where he was at the moment, but as she and her friends went to lunch He had met them and joined them. She insisted that he come back to the book store and meet me. After talking for a bit, He invited me to come down to Miami and preach at their church while I’m there. We exchanged information. After I get back in contact I’ll announce the wheres and when’s for this meeting, but without a doubt this was a God connection.

Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.”

It wasn’t until I got home, and found myself exhausted did I remember that I kept waking up the night before with a prompting to pray and did at various times. It’s awesome how I saw God orchestrate all of this, and while I certainly questioned if I’d missed God’s plan for this event, it seems to me now that the whole thing had been divinely orchestrated.

Sometimes people have this idea that every time one steps in the plan of God you’ll get this loud booming voice from on high telling you that you need to go a certain direction. In this case that wasn’t at all true. I prayed and was led. I may have questioned it, but my steps were ordered by the Lord. Just as I just seemed to have fallen into God’s plan on this one, He does that for all His children. Just stay sensitive to His leading and keep trusting in Him. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!