Monday, June 30, 2008

Hurdle

“Step of faith.” We hear the clich√© all the time as it floats around our Christian bubbles and even as it overflows into the society around us. We are reminded of that “step of faith” and I don’t think we really comprehend what it all encompasses. If we are truly honest with ourselves, that clich√© is a whole lot easier said then done. Personally, I have become numb to it. I catch myself saying it, and as the words flow out of my mouth I am thinking, “Do I know what kind of faith that takes? I encourage people to take that step, do I know what I am saying?”As I prepare in these next few months to go to Italy, I find myself taking that certain step more often. Recently I purchased my round-trip ticket to Venice. It was an exciting moment as the emotions erupted when I clicked the “confirm purchase” button for the last time. Yet, as the excitement calmed down, the reality set in: I am doing it. I am taking that step of faith, buying my ticket and stepping forward. Before making my big purchase I knew it would require my faith—that the Lord will provide-to become more dominant. But I had no idea how dark and insecure I would feel. Jesus says if we have the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains. (Matthew 17:20) And in my finite eyes this is a fairly big mountain. But you know what? This is nothing. I take this step of faith into what I feel like the abyss of my confusing path of existence—but I stand strong and take confidence that my Father is leading me by His right hand. That He knows my heart. He knows my desires. He knows because He put them there. He put them there because I prayed for Him to abide in me and put His desires and His heart into mine. In Ezekiel 36:26-27 it says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” We have our heart of flesh and our spirit is renewed, we can stand strong and confident in the fact that Jesus has us and isn’t letting go. Do I let my thoughts my mind and freak myself out as I over think everything? Of course. Do I have to pray everyday that I let go and let God? Oh yeah. But I can breathe, step into my darkness, and be led by the Marvelous Light that knows exactly where I am going.

p.s. to the right is the link to where my pictures from Italy are going to be posted. But there is nothing up there from italy yet. Just so you know...

The reasons why

As some of you may know, this past spring I finished my time at Calvary Chapel Bible College and graduated in May! For two years, I was given the opportunity to set all things aside and just spend time in the Word and just soak in what the Lord desired to reveal to me. In those two years the Lord wrecked me, broke me, shook me, brought me to my knees just to get back on my feet once again. It was time that I really learned what a “concerted life” meant, and the true act of surrender. One of my favorite people in the Bible is the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah. While Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the King, his heart longed to be in Jerusalem with his people. During this time he found out about the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem and the desperation the people of the city felt. What did Nehemiah do? He fasted and prayed before the God of heaven (Nehemiah 1:4). We later find out it was another four months before the Lord gave him the opportunity to help the people of the destroyed city. But when the time came, when the King asked his saddened servant what was wrong, that is when the door was open. At that point Nehemiah had been able to seek the Lord and become prepared for specifically what the Lord desired to do with his heart for the people. As you continue to read the rest of the book, the Lord uses Nehemiah in a powerful way- not only to rebuild the walls of the city, but also to bring glory to the name of God.
I tell you all this for a purpose: last spring I got this random desire to pray for the country of Italy. I never really had a desire to go there before but one day I felt the need to pray. Because of the faithfulness of the Lord evidenced in my own life, I knew prayer was the most powerful thing I could do. So I did. The summer came and went and I continued to pray. In August I headed off to Israel for my fall semester and I still had this urge to pray for the people, the country, the churches and the missionaries in Italy. I didn’t really know what to do with it, I just knew I needed to surrender it to the Lord and give it to him. I knew I needed to be obedient in what He had put on my heart and the only way the heaviness in my heart was lifted was when I was praying. That semester I was reading through Nehemiah. I read those first few chapters and felt like I was reading the story of my own heart. I had been wrestling with questions of “why?”—God, why do I have this burden? God, why can I not stop praying and thinking about it? But reading about the patience and the fervent prayer of Nehemiah, it showed me this is a time of preparation. One day, the fruit of my obedience would show; I may not see it come to bear the way I think it will, but it will be there. I knew I had to stand strong in the faithfulness of knowing that God is going to lead me by His right hand.
So, I give you this big introduction because God is faithful and He does answer prayers! This past spring, it was announced that the rumors going around were true: Calvary Chapel Bible College was opening an extension campus in Montebelluna, Italy. It took several slaps across the face and a few wake up calls along with some very encouraging family and friends (I love you all) before I decided to apply for the internship at the new campus. To make the long story short (too late!): a month later, I was accepted! As of right now, I am planning on joining the staff and Pastors in northern Italy this fall as an intern.
What exactly will I be doing? Short answer: whatever they need! As a new campus, this semester is going to be stretching for everyone involved. Students, staff, churches, interns—we are all going to need to be patient, flexible, strong and willing to understand. But, most importantly, the goal of the entire campus is to reach out to the Italians and to spread the Good News of God’s saving grace and the unfailing relationship we can obtain by abiding in Him. While we all live, study, eat, shop and buy coffee, we hope to share the love of Christ and build friendships and relationships with those who need that everlasting love of Jesus.
So where do you come in? Well, just like Nehemiah did, we all desperately need your prayers. We desire to be those living epistles with truth written on our hearts. We all desire to see the Holy Spirit be poured upon that nation, upon its people and for us to be refreshed daily. For us to not walk out of our house without the armor of our mighty God, knowing He has the power and the desire to save. So I am asking for you to join us, maybe not physically, but in prayer. I am asking for your support: that you decide to stand in the gap and pray for us as we represent the Truth, the Way, and the Light to the nation of Italy. While I am there I will be keeping a blog with updates on what is going on and all the happenings, along with pictures. As you pray (which is most important) if you feel lead to help support me financially please send everything to my parents at the address below. (they are my bank :) )
Again, I thank each of you for everything. May the Lord bless you, and keep you. May His face shine upon you and grant you peace.
Laura Colle