My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

Expression 58 December 20, 2008


Shawn Boltz…a passionate man called to minister in Hollywood. Watch out, the Holy Spirit is sending a new wave of power, love, compassion, and revival to the Hollywood scene. Sound unlikely? Why wouldn’t the King of Glory transform one of the most INFLUENTIAL mountains of our society. It’s not too big. He’s too big!

Check it…

Shawn and Sally Podcasts (Interviews with Hollywood “missionaries”)

Isaiah 58
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.


SMG: Day 44 Happy Birthday to ME April 4, 2008

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 8:49 pm

Yes, today I turned a whopping 28 years old. No, I am not old.  I mean come on, if I am thinking in the realm of eternity…I am just getting started! 

God is good.  He has been so faithful to me throughout my years.  I praise Him for sustaining me and giving me LIFE.  I believe this is a year for new things. This is a year for dreams to become reality.  I believe there will be clarity this year.  Promises fulfilled.  His promises are always “YES” and “AMEN”.  I know in His word that He will not always bring comfort, but He will bring REDEMPTION.  This is a prayer that has been on my heart for the past three years.  Redemption.  Redeem all I thought was lost.  I already see this unfolding in past relationships, mistakes, sin – HE has the POWER to turn it around.  Probably the biggest area in my life right now needing redemptive power is my family.  They are wonderful, but there are areas that need to be reconciled and reconstructed.  He is a master builder and I have confidence that He is creating a beautiful piece of art.  Join me in praying for my family.  A friend reminded me of a quote tonight while my family here in Cairo was praying over me,

“If you take care of my family, I will take care of yours.” 

No, this is not specifically in the scripture, however there is a verse that backs it up.

I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Mark 10:29-31

At times I have felt guilty for being so far away from my family (more than 13 hour drive).  When things are a little shaky, I want to be there to steady it out, to fix it.  Perhaps it is my restorative nature or my pride.  Either way, I am not the Savior, I am not the one who will fix anything that is broken.  God is ABLE and He is already at work. 

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” 

Romans 8:28

I must remember this, my God is abundantly available to me and my family. He is here.  Thank you Abba.

Today overflowed with surprises!  I woke up casting off all expectations, letting the Lord surprise me just as He wanted.  My family here had put together a few collages with pictures, words, and scriptures that they saw developing in my life.  What a GIFT!  That’s what I love, those precious things that are made with such thought and care.  I came home for lunch to see a present on my bed from my roommate.  The post office had a package and a few cards for me from family.  Yes!  Right on time.  Many facebook Birthday wishes.  Texts from good friends.  Calls from close friends.  A Birthday celebration with my favorite foods.  More presents.  Thank you all for being a part of my life and celebrating my birthday with me.

Good friends, they are the best gift the Lord could give me. 


Oh, I just have to add this…

My theme song for this year is “Move me Aside” (Lindsey Kane).  I want to see the Lord move in increadible ways through me, so I am asking that I would be invisble and He would be visible in my life. 

“Lord, here am I, move me aside and move in me.  Move in this place, till I embrace you King of Kings.”


SMG: Day 43

Filed under: Revelation and Growth,Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 8:41 pm

Still rainy, but we still wanted to get out there and hike around.  This group is familiar with many hiking locations in the area (as they live closer), they took us to Burden Falls.  As we drove through the windy dirt road path, I gazed upon the beauty of the Lord.  Once we got out of the car, we all smelled this nasty, rank, rotten scent.  What is that?!?  Someone points to a dead horse.  Yes, I said horse.  Just lying there near the head of the waterfall.  Disgusting.  If you stood just right, and the wind was in your favor, you could avoid the nastiness floating in the air.  Yuck! 

The waterfall was simply beautiful.  Fresh water spilling over the rocks, flowing down into a narrow creek.  The symbolism was striking, there we stood faced with death and life.  It reminded me of the scripture in Deuteronomy 30:15-20

 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

  But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

  How often is this true in our daily lives?  The option to choose life or death.  In words, in action, in submission, in humility, in relationship, in work, in ministry, in church, in family…choose LIFE.  Today I choose life, I choose you LORD.


We played on the rocks, like little kids in a jungle gym.  Fitting, I guess this is God’s playground.  How fun!  I love bouldering around.  We got some fun pics before heading out on the “trail”.  I guess we made our own trail.  Trailblazers…forerunners.  We just went along the waters edge, hoping along from rock to rock.  I found a rock that resembles the state of MN.  I took it home.  Maybe I’ll paint it.   


These hidden pockets in Southern IL, I need to do more exploring, we have amazing hiking spots around here. 



SMG: Day 42

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 8:20 pm

Ahh, the good outdoors!  I absolutely love being out in God’s creation, soaking in the fresh air. 

Even though it was a bit misty and out hike was wimpy and short, it was GREAT.  The camp has 1,000 acres to play around with, so you’ll never get bored. 

We spent the weekend with our northern friends up in Harrisburg.  We met the Harrisburg crew through various weekends of worship – here in Cairo and also in Mount Carmel.  It was really nice to actually get to know them in conversation, usually our time together is just simply – worship. They are such a unique bunch.  God has had His hand on each one, bringing them through life and the challenges they have faced.  I am thankful for this new friendship the Lord has given us with other young adults.  I am encouraged by the older generation that is passionate for the Lord in this region, but I was starting to wonder if there were any young adults – people in their 20’s and 30’s.  Yes, there are!  Through this group, we have been able to connect with other groups a few hours north of Cairo, there are young adults in this region who are passionate for God. 

I look forward to our growing friendship with these wonderful family members.


SMG: Day 40

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 8:14 pm

Oops, a bit out of order. 

 This is my “get out of blogging free” card. 


SMG: Day 41

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,Music,Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 8:13 pm

This afternoon the whole staff met to go through “Steps to Freedom”, which was put together by Neil Anderson.  Gary and Sharon had gone to a training seminar a couple weekends back and wanted to lead us through these steps.  All of us have gone through inner healing stuff before, but it was good to again recognize our need.  We may recieve more training this summer, but our hope is to walk through this with people in the community.  I am not really a counselor, but the Holy Spirit IS, and we approach it that way.  Leading them to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to heal their wounds.  I am asking for wisdom as we enter this “new door”, I don’t take lightly that the Lord is entrusting His sheep to us.  They are His people, and we need to handle their lives with care.  Pray for us that wisdom and discernment would abound as we walk this road of inner healing with the people in our community. 

Uprising was mobile again this week – brought worship to the Club House building at Elmwood.  Talk about a modge podge group of people coming together.  Usually this group is composed mostly of children, and the only adults are the Two Rivers staff along with our regulars.  This time however, there were only a few kids and many adults.  People came who we have been building relationships with for the past few years.  It was so interesting as I looked around the room.  We really are a group of misfits!  Young, old, black, white, recovering addicts, people suffering from mental illness…sinners the Lord has redeemed.  That’s what it comes down to, we all have been made clean only by His sacrifice and resurrection.  We have been delivered and set free. 

Earlier today our team was practicing worship – the harp and bowl method.  This is probably on my top ten list of favorite things to do.  I was created to worship (and that doesn’t always include singing).  “Harp and bowl” refers to the golden bowls of incense that are filled with the prayers of the saints (noted in Revelation).  Let me break it down: We have a couple people on guitar and usually one playing the keyboard as we sing.  Someone will lead a prayer (taken from scripture – sometimes called an Apostolic prayer) and we will sing about it.  Of course there are little cues and there is a bit to say about getting comfortable with this new method of worship, but I love it!  You sing the scripture, you sing what is in your spirit, you sing a new song to the Lord.  It’s all pretty much amazing if you haven’t tried before, I strongly encourage it.  You can even be by yourself with the Lord and sing out scripture to Him. 


SMG: Day 39

Filed under: Surprise Me God,testimony — charredsmore @ 7:59 pm

Power is released in reflection.  Today I gave a good friend advice to look back at the last three months in reflection, noting the goodness of the LORD.  Really, this is our testimony.  In fact, we overcome the evil one through our testimony.  Check out Revelation 12:11,

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

I thought I would go ahead and do this little exercise myself.  Usually my head is in the clouds day dreaming about the future…today the journey will lead me back to the end of December.

December:  God began placing a new type of ministry on my heart.  He gave me the opportunity to pray for musicians (Check out my old blog: Divine Appointments).  New connections, new friends at One Thing Conference in Kansas City, MO.  A new stirring in my heart to pray for people in Hollywood, famous people.  Wasn’t too much on the radar before December. 


January:  The Lord takes me on a journey, unfolding a vision of a ministry that beautifully weaves pieces of my heart together.  Desires that He had placed on my heart begin to be written in this proposal.  He brings connections that will probably be utilized when this becomes a reality.  Sorry for being vague, I’m still protecting this vision a bit – people know, but not many.  I’m still praying about it and asking for the Lord’s timing in releasing it.  I went to CA – traveling the coast of the state.  Visiting other prayer type ministries, even one in Hollywood.  I was pleasantly surprised to find like-minded believers so quickly in this state.  My dream (literally, I had two night dreams about going to San Jose – otherwise not on my to-do list) of traveling to San Jose, CA became a reality as I was able to visit the House of Prayer.  Went to the OC to visit some old friends through YouthWorks – that was also amazing.  God uses the vision (noted above) to refine me – waiting, trusting, timing, submitting under authority.  Gary and Sharon had some challenging, yet fruitful conversations with me about these things.  Two of my best friends from WI come to visit on a weekend we had a bunch of hoo-ha going on here in Cairo.  These sisters have been wanting to visit for a while, and the Lord had strategic timing for them to come – during a big prayer gathering.  I was so blessed to have them here.


February:  Learning how to wait.  I’m not really good at it.  Patience is a fruit of the Spirit – and it IS available to me.  So, yes, I am learning how to wait.  My sweet friend from college/YW/Two Rivers – Amanda came back to Cairo after her year long hoopla around the world with AIM (check out her blog on the right side if you are interested in reading about her adventures).  God unfolds a vision for her about Hashem House (see her other blog for more information).  God brings favor with new friendships.  I begin tutoring a teen girl in math.  I start the SMG experiment. 


March:  Support begins to filter through my little PO Box.  Our friend from Colfax miraculously supports Sara (for the whole year!) and each of us $100/month.  Two other friends from Colfax come to visit, sweet time of fellowship over a Mexican dinner.  This little church in Colfax is getting rocked by the Lord (P.S. We are going there this coming weekend to build deeper relationships, lead worship, and experience their world).  Laurie joins our staff team!  Praying more with community members who are experiencing victory in their lives.  Women’s ministry begins to explode for me – without even striving, it just sort of happens.  Easter celebration!  The grand finale of the month is the turning of a new year for me – I turned 28! 


So, there you go.  I think this little exercise was more for me than anything. 

Looking back I am amazed by my God, at what He has done in 2008. 

It is only April, I wonder what other surprises He has for me? 


SMG: Day 38 April 2, 2008

Filed under: Cairo Kids,Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 9:59 pm

Club House at Elmwood Tuesday was all about the Bible study.  They were so into it that we didn’t even do our activity.   A lesson was taught about salvation.  Many of these kids have grown up thinking, “If I am a good person I will go to heaven.”  And many children think, “When I die, I will become an angel.”  Somehow these cultural views creep into their minds, and they need to have a transforming of their mind (Romans 12:2) – just like I do. 

The lesson was hands on, with props, and questions for them to answer at the conclusion of the lesson:

1. What is heaven like? 

2.  What is not allowed in heaven?

3.  What is required to take care of our sin problem?

4.  Who are God’s children?

5.  Who is Jesus?

6.  What did Jesus do to take care of our sin?

7.  How do we get into heaven?

The answers to these questions were all given in the form of a scripture.  The kids were really listening and soaking it all in.  Next we had them teach the lesson to us.  Teaching is the best form of learning and retaining information.  Brilliant!  So, they got up front and began asking questions.  It was precious to see them think about the answers in their mind and agree, “Yes, that is correct!” or even call on someone else for a different answer.  Of course they got a little silly with it too – being the teacher and all , they were the ones calling the shots in the classroom.   The Spirit is our greatest teacher and He was there,  moving upon their understanding.  Thank you Lord for guiding us into your truth.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” 
John 16: 13-14


SMG: Day 37

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 9:48 pm

Monday morning…

Sara and I are scheduled for the prayer room, which is always a delight to my heart.  I love hearing her heart and being able to pray for her and with her.  We were able to pray for some personal requests along with lifting up our leadership team (which she is included).  We asked for the Kingdom to come and be a daily reality in our lives.  This is available to us!


I’m a slacker March 29, 2008

Filed under: Surprise Me God — charredsmore @ 7:02 pm

This weekend we are heading off to Camp Ondessonk for some fun outdoor time and fellowship with our Harrisburg friends.  I am looking forward to fresh air, good conversations, camp fires, hiking, beautiful scenery, worship, reading, and lots of laughter. 
I know I have been slacking on the SMG updates.  I still need to write day 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and day 44 will be on Monday.  Yikes!  Good thing I like to reflect.  Updates will be given after the weekend, how about that?  It’s almost like I am back on the Yearbook staff and have deadlines to meet.  Only in my own mind.  Blogging for 44 days straight activated a good dose of self discipline.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Enjoy the outdoors – wherever you are.  Hopefully it’s not too cold up north in MN and WI.