Mini Iceland Update

Last night was the conclusion of the Living Under the Open Heaven conference.  It has been a delight to fellowship and experience God with such lovely people, and I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for Iceland.  We are now in tourist mode and will be venturing out and about for the next week.

Due to the fact that my mind feels like mush, I plan to write a longer and more informative update after I relax and play a bit.  This afternoon we will be heading into a nearby town to visit some shops, drink coffee and debrief.

At this point, I will be taking many more photos and collecting video footage for a new film piece that I plan to release after I return home.  To view more of my photography, visit my photo gallery.  I have also been posting more updates on my Facebook.

All is well in Iceland.  Now if you will please excuse me, I have touristy things to do.  😉

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Blessed Are the Hungry

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6

It is impossible to comprehend the height and depth of God’s love for His people.  The little glimpses that we have caught are so spectacular and wondrous, yet what we are capable of seeing isn’t even surface level.

Even so, He tells us that when we seek Him, we will find Him.  He says that if we hunger and thirst, we will be satisfied.  There is always another angle, another layer to this God who is never-ending.  This God who makes Himself so accessible and available.

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” – Jeremiah 33:3

We have been in Iceland for four days [I think?], and so far I have rested more here than in well over a year.  I am grateful to the Lord for bringing me back.  Not only is He moving upon those who came to attend the conference, but He is moving upon our entire team.  Bringing refreshing rest, new experiences in Him, and lets face it . . . this is pretty much the most epic of all vacations.

It has been wonderful to reconnect with many of the beautiful people who joined us last year.  It is encouraging to see their hunger and excitement for more of God.  We are staying in Eastern Iceland, in a more rural area.  Most of the attendees have come quite the distance to be here.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

During the first few sessions, we have been sharing a lot about what it is to walk in the glory.  The idea that we were created to live in freedom.  Right here, right now.  To walk in the fullness that He has for us.  On earth, as it is in Heaven.  Not by our might, not by our power, but by His Spirit dwelling inside of us [Zechariah 4:6].

The gifts that He bought for us with His sacrifice are often the very gifts that we never fully receive.  We tend to limit God to work within our own limitations.  We tend to tell Him what our worth is rather than listening to what He says about who we are.

It is okay to dream big and crazy dreams.  God desires to stretch us beyond our own abilities.  When we are in a place where we are beyond our own abilities, He is able to step in and empower us to walk in the impossible.

It really wasn’t long ago when I would have been quite terrified to do some of the things I’ve been doing in the last few days.  To get to this point I have had to walk directly into some very uncomfortable and awkward situations, and I am so glad I did.  I am so glad because the adventures that I wound up on, through those moments of stretching, have brought me into places that used to seem impossible.

We need to trust that God is who He says He is.  We will never be disappointed if we keep our focus on Him and not on the things that are happening around us.  All of creation is waiting for us to rise up and start living the way we were born to live.


But Wait . . . There’s More!

After our evening session of the conference concluded, all four of us crazy Americans bundled ourselves up, went out into the cold night, and climbed up a steep knoll.  We were expectantly seeking out the Aurora Borealis, as Arron had heard that there was a great possibility that it would be visible tonight.  [For those who are wondering, a knoll is a hill.]

We stayed out for awhile, but alas we could not see anything but stars, clouds and the moon.  Still, the view of the stars was very satisfactory.  After all, it was an opportunity, a rare moment in time.  It is not every day that I find myself up on a  knoll in Iceland with a terrific view of the stars!

I have been doing research on night photography specifically in preparation of capturing the Aurora Borealis.  I came to the conclusion that we still have many days left before we leave, and I would continue to expect that God would provide me with the opportunity.  Regardless of the fact that we couldn’t see what we were originally looking for, I always enjoy standing under a starry night sky.

It wasn’t until after I took the picture below that I noticed a faint streak of Aurora.  I was floored.  I was content, after staying out for awhile, to go back inside and go to bed.

However, I didn’t go to bed.  I started to write a blog post.  Not this blog post, but another one that I will eventually publish.  You see, my post for tonight dramatically changed when I received a Facebook message from Sheryl, who is staying in the room next to mine.

Sheryl informed me that she could see the Aurora and that it was dancing across the sky.  She proceeded to allow me to come over and see it from her window, as my window faces the opposite direction.

It’s crazy now to think that I almost didn’t go back outside because I was in my pajamas and didn’t want to be cold.  I seriously considered staying in my bed, continuing to write, and then eventually going to sleep.  Thankfully, I chose to step out.  Did I mention it was nearly 2am?

Let me just tell you how crazy and amazing Sheryl was to offer to go out with me.  We were both in our sleepwear, threw on some layers, our boots, and trekked back up the knoll together.

In the words of Sheryl,

“Never stop asking God for more. Whatever you need just ask. His storehouse never runs out.”

As we stood on the knoll once again, the only words that I could find were declarations of praise to God.

He never stops astounding me.

[And now I will go to bed . . .]

Holy

“Who is this King of glory?  The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.” – Psalm 24:10

We ended our first night in Iceland in worship and prayer.  As my fingers hit the keys, there was only one word that echoed over and over in my heart and mind.  

Holy.

King of kings, Lord of lords, I am in awe of Your goodness.  You are perfect in all of Your ways. 

Holy.  

Sometimes this word is the only word that my lips are able to form.

It is who He is.

I have spoken this word, I have sung this word for years.  Throughout my journey with the Lord, there have been layers of understanding His holiness, but this is a whole new level.  It is changing my heart in ways that nothing else could.

There is no one like Him.

All it takes is a whisper and I come undone again.  So much joy.  So much awe.

I want more of Him.  He promises to respond when we earnestly seek Him.  I don’t care how long I’ve been seeking Him, or how amazing the journey has been so far.  There is always more of Him.  He goes on and on.  His love is unending.  His mercy is new every morning.

He is a big God and we so often limit Him.  We so often make Him out to be common, when there is nothing common about Him.

“I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne;and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of His glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” – Isaiah 6:1-4

Lord, show me Your glory.  

For the next two weeks, I will be in Iceland.  We will be ministering at a week-long conference starting tomorrow evening.  I know He is going to touch the hearts of those who attend.  I know that He is going to show up in powerful ways and meet us as we seek His face.  So I cry out again,

Lord, show us Your glory.  Reveal to us more of who You are.  

The more I worship Him, the more I get to know His heart, the more I realize how little I can do without Him.  And that . . . is amazing.  There is no greater joy than to move with Him.  I don’t want to play a single note, or speak even one word, that isn’t breathed upon by Him.  I need all of Him, not bits and pieces.  I’d rather feel awkward for a moment and wait for His lead, than resort to the comfort of my own methods and routines.  After all . . .

One word breathed upon by God has the power to change a nation.

And We’re Off!

I am currently sitting on the floor, waiting at our terminal in San Francisco International Airport.  From here we fly to Seattle and then on to Reykjavík.  Once we arrive in Reykjavík, we will take one more plane to our destination in Egilsstaðir.

I am choosing right now to let go of all of my expectations except for one.  I am expecting that God is going to move powerfully during our time traveling, while we are sightseeing, and as we minister to those who attend the conference.

      Holy Spirit, You are welcome to come and move freely in this adventure.  Have Your way . . .

Moving with God and Allowing Him to Become Everything

In eleven days I will be adventuring back to Iceland.  Once again, I will be traveling with His Glory to the Nations to minister at a conference.  Our team consists of four members, and we are all thrilled to see what God has planned for our two week visit.  I intend on keeping you all updated with blog posts, photos, and videos.

Leading up to the day of our departure, as with any other trip, I have quite the list of things to get done before we leave on the 20th.  It’s been a combination of getting my house in order, starting to throw things into my suitcase, and buying those last minute items that I know I will need while I am away.  At the same time, I am making sure that I focus primarily on Spiritual preparation.

My heart is earnestly seeking the Lord for vision and insight into what is burning in His heart.  For the people we will be crossing paths with in Iceland, in the airports, as well as everywhere else I find myself in the next eleven days [it is good to stay in the present, regardless of how much excitement resides in the future].

What a good God He is.

How wonderful it is that He allows us to partner with Him.  This God who never changes.  This God who is always moving.  He doesn’t stop moving when we do.  He continually invites us to come along side Him and move to the rhythm of His heart.

I hear so many people say that it’s been a long time since God has moved in the way that they used to experience Him.  I hear so many who are weighed down because they don’t feel Him and He seems so far away.

We have songs, we have prayers, books, classes, movements, that promise an end result of some type of supernatural change.  How to get closer to God, how to hear His voice, how to know His will.  All of those things can truly enrich our walk and cause us to grow deeper in our relationship with God.  But . . . have we spent too much time and energy in our methods that we burn out before we ever make it to the actual Source [God]?

There is so much disappointment.

There is so much complacency.

I have seen these things in myself, which is why I am feeling the need to write these words.

It is easy to fall into the rut of when God moves, I will move rather than face the fact that we don’t control God’s movements.  He is always performing miracles, always rescuing people out of their pain, always moving, always loving,

always

being

Himself.

If something changes, we can know for certain we are the ones who have changed.  It is up to us to move with Him.

I am challenging myself to intentionally seek Him, as each new day begins,

“Lord, have Your way in me today.  I want to move with You.  I don’t care where I am or who I am with, I invite You to influence and impact every single second of this day.  Remind me of Your presence.  Let Your face always be before me.  Let Your words always be on my lips.  Open my eyes to see Your glory.”

I am not talking about walking away from God.  I am not talking about living a life of blatant disobedience.  I am talking about losing our wonder.  I am talking about getting sidetracked.  I am talking about those moments when we get so busy doing the things of God that we find ourselves falling asleep praying at the end of the day.

It is easy to get so busy and involved in our methods that we hardly interact with God.  In a world with so many voices, He needs to be the first voice that we listen for.

Someone once told me,

     “Don’t be hard on yourself, I bet it touched God’s heart that you fell asleep talking to Him.”

I’m not being hard on myself.

I’m saying that the end of the day shouldn’t be the first time we interact with Him.

Years ago, someone I loved treated me with an “I’m saving the best for last” mentality.  Often times, they would go about their day without taking the time to talk with me.  It would be very normal for me not to hear back from them until I was in bed and asleep.  I didn’t feel that I was “the best saved for last”.  I felt like I was one last item to check off the list.  When carefully confronting them on the matter, and expressing my feelings, I only received more excuses.

Excuses are easy.

I don’t want easy.

When I think about that scenario and apply it to my walk with God, it makes me want to throw my cellphone, my camera, my computer, and everything else, into the pond located near my house.

     Nothing else matters if I don’t have Him. 

I tell Him that often, but do my actions tell it to Him as well?

He is my first and last.

He is my beginning and  end.

He cannot even be a priority.  Priorities are ranked and numbered.  Priorities can be switched around, sometimes without us even realizing it at first.  He cannot be a priority.  He cannot be the best saved for last.

He needs to be all.

He needs to be it.

Everything.

The only way He can be our everything is if we know Him.  When we truly approach Him, and invest time into knowing Him, nothing will be able to keep us from seeking Him out more and more.  It is natural.  It is not a method.  It is not legalistic.  It is not fear-based.

It is totally

and completely

founded

upon

love.

I Know Nothing, God Knows Everything

Today we leave Eyjólfsstaðir Guesthouse.  The conference came to a close on Tuesday evening and we were able to rest and fit in some more sightseeing before we fly back to Reykjavik this afternoon.  I know I can speak for the entire team and say that we were all tremendously blessed during our time here.  Beautiful people, beautiful scenery, beautiful testimonies and a beautiful God.  Our next few days will be spent with some of our new friends that we had the privilege of ministering to last week .  We will be sharing meals, as well as visiting their church on Sunday.

The conference was full of surprises.  We witnessed people who were so touched by God that every ailment that they had in their body was healed.  There were times when we were just sitting back and watching God move.  It was nothing that we were capable of doing.  It was all Him.  The King of kings.  The Lord of lords.

 I still have to go through my notes that I jotted down, after getting terribly behind in my journaling.  Things began to happen so quickly that I could hardly keep up.  I will be using the rest of our stay at the apartment in Reykjavik (that does not have wifi) to sort through the revelations and gems that I received from the Lord.

Forcing my mind to relax and not to run too far ahead has been a little bit of a struggle this week.  The last thing I want to do is to try to get ahead of God.  Presently I do not know what I am doing.  Presently I do not know anything beyond Iceland.  Presently I do not know where I am going to live when I get back to the United States.  Presently I do not know anything, but thankfully God does.  He knows everything concerning my past, present and future.  I trust that He will show me which steps to take next . . . this is one thing that I do know!

So, whether I live in a house, or an apartment, or up in a tree, I am up for the adventure of living.  I decided this last night, as I was washing my socks and underwear in a tiny sink in Iceland.

If the opportunity arose, I’d gladly stay here longer.  In fact, I would quickly say yes to living here for awhile.  I feel very at home in this country.  There will definitely be more visits here in the future, and I get the feeling it will be sooner than later.

 So, today I am choosing to stay in the present.  I am choosing to focus on what is happening right now, right here.  A lot can happen in a few days, and I don’t want to miss out on anything else that God has planned.

Today is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it!  Whether I am moving back to Oregon, or staying in California, or staying in Iceland, or . . . you get the idea.

Enough For Today

We arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland at 6am last Sunday morning, while you were sleeping.  Exhausted from a full day and evening of flying, we tried our best to function like human beings.  For those of you who have never experienced jetlag, the time difference truly messes with everything.  In all of my travels, I have had my share of jetlag.  I have had moments where I felt like I was outside of myself.  I could hear people talking but not understand what they were saying.  It is strange, let me tell you.

It is so surreal when I think about where I am.  I keep finding myself saying things like,

“I’m sitting in a chair in Iceland.”

“I’m taking a walk in Iceland.”

“I’m drinking coffee in Iceland.”

“I’m playing cards in Iceland.”

Friends, it is really hard for me to wrap my head around the idea.  I mean, Iceland is seriously the last place I expected to be this year, or any other year.  There are obvious places to go and minister.  Countries that the Lord has told me I would travel to since I was very young.  Countries that most missionaries talk about.  But . . . Iceland?  God is full of surprises.

I am speechless when I look back and remember how God told me to bring my winter clothes and passport to California.  I am speechless because God has moved supernaturally to get our entire team, consisting of Deborah Peters, Stephany Kern, Sheryl Davis and myself, out here.

I didn’t have the money to get here and I still don’t have the money to be here.  And herein lies the most life changing lesson that God has been teaching me during this season.  Do I have enough for today?  My answer is always yes.  I have been learning what it means to only think about today and trust God with the present.  When you take one day at a time, life becomes simpler and less exhausting.  Did I have what I needed for yesterday?  Yes.  Do I have what I need for today?  Yes.  Do I have what I need for the rest of the month?  I will.  As I continue to do my part and go where He sends me, God will provide.  I trust that He will provide my “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

     “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

     “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

The first few days of our adventure were made up of sightseeing and resting.  We were able to visit Gullfoss (Golden Falls), Geysir and Þingvellir National Park.  There is so much beauty to see here.  The color pallet is phenomenal.  Bright and dark greens, oranges, yellows and browns.  The water is brilliantly clear and blue, and it is pure enough to drink straight from the rivers.

     “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

Throughout this journey, I have been gasping and oohing and awing and marveling and reveling in the glory of God found in creation.  My spirit has leapt, over and over again, causing me to throw my arms up in the air in worship, and declare Isaiah 6:3,

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”

The more I get to know Him, the less I care about looking strange.  I want to experience every part of Him that I can in this life.  When you catch even the smallest glimpse of His face, when you look into His gentle eyes, you’ll find that there is nothing else that compares to Him.  He is everything.  I want Him or nothing at all.

      “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” – Psalm 8:1      

     “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8:3-4

One of my favorite adventures, during the first few days, was when we were leaving Þingvellir National Park.  We were driving along a highway when suddenly the perfect sheep photo op arose.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Without really thinking, or explaining myself, I exclaimed to Sheryl, who was driving,

“I’m getting out. Come back for me!”

She slowed down enough for me to get out, though the car was still moving when I did.  Another vehicle was quickly approaching behind us, which meant that Sheryl had to speed away down the road—what an adrenalin rush!  There I was alone on the side of a highway.  The only sound was the wind rustling through the grass.  Like a crazy person, I walked over to the sheep, and said,

“Listen up, friends! In the name of Jesus, I want you to pose for me.”

Yes, I really did. And yes, they did pose for me.

IcelandBlog_06

After I took my pictures, I stood there, in a safe spot, on the side of an Icelandic highway.  I stood there cracking up because I was standing out there alone with sheep, thinking about everything in my life that had happened up until this point, and praising God for being so amazing—my ride had still not returned, so I had a lot of time to do this.  There was a moment when I started to wonder if they were coming back to get me, but I was still cracking up.  They did return for me, after having a very hard time finding a spot to turn around.  Sometimes you have to do spontaneous things like taking pictures of sheep on the side of a foreign highway.

On Wednesday, we flew out to Egilsstaðir, which is in eastern Iceland.  Here we are staying at Eyjólfsstaðir Guesthouse during the “Living Under the Open Heaven” conference.  The guesthouse is run by Pastor Fridrik and his wife Villa.  The building was built by YWAM and was used as a training base.  This lovely couple, that I feel so blessed to have been introduced to, put their heart and soul into maintaining a peaceful atmosphere for people who visit from all around the world.  They have been so gracious to host this conference and provide rooms for our team and those who are attending the meetings. So far our stay has been filled with beautiful people and beautifully scenery.  I have fallen in love with this place.

Thankfully, most of the people in Iceland speak a decent amount of English, unlike some of the other countries I have visited in the past.  In fact, many of them are fluent.  Having the ability to communicate without a translator, most of the time, truly makes the ministry side of things much easier.

The meetings have been out of this world. God is healing and delivering people.  He is showing up in powerful ways.  I feel honored to be here and be able to be a part of what is happening.  I agree with what Fridrik said this morning, in regards to last night,

“It was joyful, it was peaceful, Jesus was real!”

That is my week in a nutshell.  There has been a great amount of joy and peace and revelation of the reality of Jesus Christ.  He has been faithful to show up, as we have been faithful to be obedient and step out.  And it has been ridiculously fun.

Here’s a fun testimony.  The weather is rather bipolar in Iceland.  During most of our sightseeing, we have been met with quite a bit of rain and wind.  Now, I have not actually been cold here yet, which is something I didn’t expect.  I have a very warm coat that is lightweight and insulated, but the outer material is cotton.  I very quickly realized that I was in need of a rain jacket.  So, I asked the Lord for a rain jacket.

A few days passed and I didn’t think about the rain jacket.  I didn’t ask a second or third or fourth time.  When it was the furthest thought from my mind, Villa pulled me aside and asked me if I had a minute.  She then proceeded to pull out a London Fog rain jacket and put it on me.  She said an American had accidentally left it here and didn’t want them to try to mail it back to her.  They were asked, by the original owner, to give it to someone who needed a jacket.  As I was standing there in shock, Villa asked,

“Do you need this?”

     “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:28-30

Even typing this out makes me want to cry. Tears of joy that stream out of the fact that God listens to our prayers and He desires to provide our needs.  All of our needs.  And . . . the jacket fit me perfectly.  She had no idea that I needed a rain jacket, or that I prayed for one, but my Father knew!

Another highlight was when we were able to see the Aurora Borealis.  It really was bigger than life, there is no exaggeration on its beauty.  It was past eleven when Deborah almost knocked down my door in excitement.  Fridrik had called her to tell her that it was visible.  The locals laughed as we all ran outside in our pajamas, jackets and boots.  They are used to seeing the Northern Lights.  It would take a long time for me to get used to seeing such a heavenly sight.  (Sorry, I was not able to capture it on my camera, but it looked exactly like what you would find on a google search.)

As I already stated above, God is showing up in powerful ways.  In the smallest and biggest details of this trip.  On a personal level and in all of the lives around me.  Deborah has been posting updates that include more details and testimonies about what God is doing in the conference.  Be sure to check it out:

http://hgtn.org/IcelandBlogSept2014.html

I will be posting more stories and accounts soon. So much has been happening.  Thank you all for your prayers, they are very much appreciated by us all.