So this week has been really rough for me… mostly due to the fact that I haven’t been really trusting God with a situation that I’m facing. I can’t remember who said it but a good truth that I heard recently was that most of the time we don’t entrust God with the little things in our lives and don’t put that into practice, and then when a big thing arises we go to God but we don’t really go correctly because we haven’t been really going to God with the other things… This is somewhat the case for me… I will honestly admit that I haven’t given hadn’t given my WHOLE life to God… mostly due to lack of faith (which is silly because that brings up doubt in the sovereignty of God and His power and love and I might as well not believe in God at all if that is going to be my mentality) My problem… I don’t constantly meditate on the word or on God’s promises to me… and I don’t confess them daily… so while I may know them when they are spoken to me or when I come across them in scripture, I am hard pressed to know what to say/pray when in urgent need… and THAT is very dangerous… I have been getting by thus far through knowing who to go to when this happens who can speak truth into situations and pray with power… but its time out for dependence on people with that… I can pray for myself and know how to get into the presence of God… I need to be able to pray in times of crisis and personal need too… depending on the Only True God and not man…

I’m not sure why this situation is arising… and my pastors always say God doesn’t need to use bad things to get your attention… like God doesn’t need to break your ankle to tell you you need to rest… He can just do it… But it doesn’t really matter why anymore… because the lesson that I’m learning that’ll last me a lifetime… and the devil can be mad because I already had victory over this situation before I even knew it existed…

So I am questioning if this is my refining process… Its funny because in our leadership meeting @ the beginning of the semester we studied John 15 and I was the only one who spoke up saying I don’t know if I like this refining business… I mean like really it just doesn’t sound like fun to me… Mind you I wasn’t really looking at the other option (being cut off and pretty much dying) I was just focused on how pruning and cleansing had the potential to be very painful… So after wallowing in self-pity for half the week I have finally been awakened to the reality of the situation… and I can praise God for that… This was awakened through a note someone wrote on facebook which I believe he said is from My Utmost for His Highest… (which now after reading this I might want that book) 

“Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” The altar means fire—burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this way of fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your way of fire?

I’ve been praying and asking God to consume my worship… and I believe that in order to do that… with that fire, he has to purify me… that means cutting me off from my past completely… something I sometimes try to hold on to… or sometimes beat myself up for… But God doesn’t remember our sins and I continually do not need to remember them either… this goes back to a message we heard in Atlanta… Remember in the Hebrew translation means to bring into the present… I know ya’ll may not understand… but its ok… if someone gets it that’s kool… they can understand why I cry these tears of joy right now… Just another praise for my testimony… of how Great… Awesome… Marvelous… Wonderful… Splendorous… Incredible… Mighty… I could go on… MY GOD is… Oh I’m excited… It may have not been immediate but I got there… I could scream…  I can’t even type no more I’m so excited… My God… Ya’ll just don’t know… Giving God my EVERYTHING… my WHOLE BEING… I am SO on FIRE

A poem I wrote in Atlanta called Remember Me

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This is a song written by my campus minister’s best friend and we sang it at a conference last weekend and I haven’t been able to let it go since… I just had to share it with everyone else cuz it’s a great song

Consume my Worship- Eboni Speight

You are, You are the King of Glory
Worshipping You only
I bow before Your throne
For you are God alone

Consume my worship
Consume my worship

Let the fire on the altar never go out, never go out!
Let the fire on the altar never go out, never go out!

There are so many things I’m excited for and I’m just happy that God has given me joy after my praying and going to bed a little sad last night!

I’m excited for Release!!! Our Black Regional Student Conference with Intervarsity! I’m excited because I’m expecting God to show up in mighty ways and speak into my life like he’s done so many times before… because I get to see so many wonderful faces that I haven’t seen in a while like My BFF ANGELA!!!! and PATRICE!!!! and my wonderful roommate from Atlanta ’08 ALEX!!!! and the potential of meeting new wonderful faces from different schools that people are going to bring… it’s going to be awesome!!!

Work was awesome today!!! I got my babies back! Last week someone was out so I had to be with the middle schoolers and I was very unhappy because they don’t listen to me like at all… but today I got to go back to where my heart is and was welcomed with hugs and opened arms cuz they were happy to see me! They don’t know I was just as happy to see them… cuz I had an incident with the middle schoolers and a parent was upset and that made me upset and I really was worried that I did something wrong, but I talked to the principal about it and she said that the kids told the truth which really made me feel better because the one girl was lying to her mother and making me look bad and the parent was going to talk to the principal and I didn’t know what that outcome was going to bring… but now that the girl owned up to it the pressure is off of me! Plus the director of Aftercare came in my class today and told me I was doing a very good job and that just boosted my day because I worry about that sometimes and just need that word of affirmation to know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing because I do try my best.

I got to spend time with Utibe today in DC… which was great because even though it was crowded and our time was short we got to talk a little bit and catch up after Atlanta before she makes that trip back to LA… Utibe and I did an Urban Project with Intervarsity in 2006 together. We spent some time reminiscing on that crazy summer! LOL Good times…

Oh and at driving school today my driving instructor asked us what it meant to be saved and it was great just to be able to openly share about Christ in a setting you wouldn’t think of as the place for that… and I found out that one of the students in the class is a freshman @ Bowie State… God is SO funny… connection over break? I mean really WHAT is the likelihood of that happening? Needless to say I’m going to try to connect with her and maybe even try to get her to come to Release… she does attend church… I wonder if she’s crazy enough to attend a conference with some people she hardly knows? LOL We’ll see!!!!

I FINALLY decided what song I’m dancing to for my grandmother’s Pastoral Anniversary this Sunday! Cece Winans’ Holy Spirit Come Fill this Place! I’m excited about it now LOL because at first I just had no clue about what to do… and though I’m sure my grandmother would love anything I do… its like a dance tribute to her and my ministry unto God so I was really like ok… its coming up what should I do??? AHHH!

All in all I’m just excited about God cuz he’s amazing and wonderful!

So… I’ve told you all about Storm Stories with TheNorEaster

With alot of butterflies of the approaching day, the day has come for me to share my Storm Story… BUT you have to go to his site to read it because I encourage you all to read everyone’s story not just mine…

Mine is about Freedom

December 29, 2008- Dr Jeanne Porter (Apostolic Church of God)

RESTORATION- Jonah 2:1-2, Jonah 4

Restoration- going back to original intent that God had

Dr Porter really gave us an insightful view to Jonah and why he didn’t want to go to Nineveh and paralleled it with the black community. She started with teaching us about Bennett’s Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. There are 2 branches of this model which 3 subsets under each.

Ethnocentric- Denial, Defense, Minimization
Ethnorelative- Acceptance, Adaptation, Integration

Denial of course is saying that there is no cultural difference… like saying to a person who is of a different culture as you “I don’t see color… I only see people”

Defense is when one acknowledges the existence of certain cultural
differences, but because those differences are threatening to his or her own reality and sense of self, the individual constructs defenses against those differences.

Minimization is when one acknowledges cultural differences, but trivializes them, believing that human similarities far outweigh any differences.

Acceptance is when one recognizes and values cultural differences
without evaluating those differences as positive or negative.

Adaptation is when one begins to develop and improve skills for interacting and communicating with people of other cultures through perspective-shifting, the ability to look at the world “through different eyes.”

Integration is when one constantly defines their own identity and evaluating behavior and values in contrast to and in concert with a multitude of cultures. Rising above the limitations of living in one cultural context, these individuals integrate aspects of their own original cultural perspectives with those of other cultures.

Now what does this have to do with Jonah? Well Nineveh was a wicked city… We got that from the text right… Well Nineveh is apart of this wonderful country of Assyria… who was pretty much really evil and fought dirty. They had tormented and tortured every nation that conquered and it was pretty bad. They were especially bad to Israel (Jonah’s nation). So Jonah pretty much had a grudge against Nineveh and there was no way he wanted to go preach to them.

The tie back to us was that there are some places we don’t want to go because of our heart toward those places or things. And that we as a black community deal with alot of those things because of the oppression that we suffered way back in slavery… but that’s not an excuse for us to stay there… Some of the things she mentioned were Addictions, Anger & Rage, Defensiveness, and need to prove ourselves.

After her message she had us come up front to the alter and pray to God to work in our hearts on the issues we dealt with whether those that she mentioned or others. It was really freeing and great. I did have alot of rage inside… I never act on it because it’s bottled up. (unlike my brother who scares me sometimes…) Anywho God dealt with that and I just love that he does things we don’t expect when we don’t expect it.

To Be Continued….

Speaker Bio: Dr. Jeanne Porter is an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and is an associate minister at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. Dr. Porter received both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the Master of Arts of Theological Studies from McCormick Theological Seminary, in Chicago, Illinois, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Communication, with an emphasis in Cultural Studies from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. You may visit www.TransPorterGroup.com to learn more about Dr Jeanne Porter and her work for the Kingdom.

I admit it… I’m a cry baby… I’ve always been one and I guess I’ll always be one LOL…

What triggered this revelation? LOL

Well my poor brother had a bad day @ school today and came back from his basketball game upset… When my mother picked us up from his school (cuz that’s where I work) he got into trouble for not having a coat on from this morning. I felt bad for hime for a lil bit cuz my mother doesn’t know when to stop yelling and leave well enough alone and he was already upset… It doesn’t help that he crosses the line and yells @ her for her to leave him alone… I wanted to come to his rescue but I wasn’t in the self sacrificing mood… (Thank you Jesus for not saying that that day on the cross)…

Anyway my mother (God bless her heart) doesn’t know how to handle situations well… And I actually blame her for my brother’s anger… She asks me what was wrong with him and I said I didn’t know because he had told me earlier he didn’t want to talk about it so I left him alone *hint hint… but no… she goes to pry when he’s already mad @ her for yelling @ him the way she did… and its not bad that she went to pry because it kinda shows in her on way that she does care… but it was the way she did it… and he doesn’t want to talk to her so what does she do? Yell more… I mean you’re not going to get him to talk about what’s wrong with him if you’re yelling @ him making him feel worse… He has an anger rage fit and she yells @ him more and it continually escalates while I pray that she just leaves him alone…

Anyway… she leaves and I talk to my brother while he packs because apparently he’s leaving (I’ve done that plenty of times @ his age and even did leave once)… As he sits there crying telling me what’s wrong I start crying… I’m like what is wrong with you Ashley come on you’re supposed to be helping him not crying… My heart was breaking for this kid… he’s growing up going through the trials of being a teen and of living with a verbally abusive mother… and I cry… but I think I get through to him somehow…

It made me think about how I’d be with my kids when they’re in crisis… whether I’d sit there and cry with them… or have a backbone and be strong for them… I know I WILL NOT BE VERBALLY ABUSIVE OR TALK DOWN TO THEM IN ANYWAY… I love my mother I think… I just know I REFUSE to be like her…

Off to play the wii wit my bro 🙂

*** Edit: My brother slept in my room again last night like he did before I left for Atlanta… only this time he slept in the bed with me… all I have to say is NEVER again LOL I got no sleep haha… He’s lucky I love him LOL ***

December 28- Ram Sridharan (THE Ohio State University)

REPENTANCE- 2 Chronicles 26:16-22; Isaiah 6:1-8

So Ram started the conference off with talks of repentance being that if we are to be well equipped leaders we must begin with a vision of God, and our own sin. We must know that God is sovereign and hear his voice and obey it. This was a great kick off to the conference I must say because it just gave us a bigger view of God and a reverance for God. We learned that God is Holy Cubed 🙂

Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, 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.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

We all we called to a time of repentance to confess our sins before God and before one another so that when we heard the call we could say… “Here we are. Send us!” What an experience that was, even though I was doing accountability the next day I confessed somethings (that I’ve never confessed with a stranger before) and got prayer of forgiveness from a staff worker and it really helped me begin to shake off the bad attitude I had from the rooming situation because I admitted how self-centered I was. Good Stuff…

To Be Continued

Speaker Bio:

Ram Sridharan is on staff with IVCF as Team Leader of the Undergraduate Ministries at Ohio State. He grew up as a third culture kid, living most of his life in Tanzania, Kenya, South India and then the United States for his college education. Ram studied Microbiology as an undergraduate and went on to study Folklore and later Human Resources for his masters. He served as a career counselor for a number of years at the University where he worked to create the African American Peer Mentoring Program. Ram has served as a volunteer for 8 years with InterVarsity before coming on staff full time in 2002. Since then he has helped launch Ignite, the Black Student Chapter at Ohio State, lead a series of Bible Studies and GIG’s with Black Fraternities and has supervised Black staff and volunteers.