Friday, May 8, 2015

"Welcome to the Chart Room"

I have been in the midst of the BRAVE journey with Crossroads and many other churches in our city.  Recently, I spent some time going through the BRAVE experience at CityLink Center.  This interactive prayer experience was one that provided some hands on tools to further explore the places in which God has been calling us as individuals to be brave.


I walk into the Chart Room not knowing what to expect. 

I am met by two huge wooden tables that look as though they have maps on them underneath a sheet of glass.  They are surrounded by well lit alcoves filled with messages inviting me to chart out a course. 

The track playing through the headphones I am wearing tells me to look for the message that connects with my heading.

My heading during this BRAVE journey has been: “Find a woman of peace.” 

I landed on this after reviewing a few things the BRAVE app pulled up for me to consider—where I want to be less stressed, where I need change, something I want to do, and looking at my “next spiritual step.”  It was this last area that really drew my attention, since all of these other items felt like areas where I have actively been make changes in my life recently. 

In looking at the spiritual progression—from seeking truth, to receiving Jesus, to focusing on obedience—I really am at the place where these are a part of my story, but I need to step towards replicating my faith in others.  This is something that I have been open to for a long time; and in some ways I think this happens on some level in snippets with many people I meet daily.  I am a teacher and love to share the things I am learning.  I also have the privilege of doing this daily with my Little Love.  However, I am constantly challenged by the stories I hear of others in our community at Crossroads who are actively and intentionally moving with a purpose to disciple others in their lives, encouraging and guiding them along as they seek Jesus in the midst of their life in a more disciplined and regular way. 

I don’t know how pursue this, really.  It doesn’t seem like something I can make happen.  So in some ways this brave challenge seemed to be the one that would require me to trust God to act most.  In the end, that is why I picked this heading. 

Truthfully, it feels risky to me, because I see no way of accomplishing all this on my own. 

However, after too many times of failing, I have learned that when I build up plans in my own way, they fall far short of what I hope for or expect.  God’s way is always better.  I sense that God has been in the midst of the formation of this heading, but nothing in my life at the moment really seems to suggest that this can be accomplished.  Certainly not in six weeks. 

Yet, I’m choosing to follow.  That’s what it is to be obedient, right?  I think of the disciples.   Jesus often asked them to go and do things that probably seemed a bit odd to them.  Yet,they followed and discovered things just as he told them they would be.  I wonder what I will find.

When I am asked to sum all this thinking up in six words or less, I remembered a phrase I have heard used around Crossroads to describe the way they encourage discipleship—“find a person of peace.” 

This phrase was meant to refer to the passage where Jesus sends out his twelve disciples in Matthew

“ Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”  -Matthew 10:11-14, NIV

It is a phrase to express that our time is best spent sharing the good news and fostering growth in someone who is a willing recipient.  This person is a “person of peace.” 

I have all this in mind as I set my heading.  “Find a woman of peace.” 

I think about all of this in the Chart Room as I look around in these nooks trying to find a message that speaks to me. 

It is the sign that says   “I AM THE AUTHOR OF PEACE” that I keep coming back to.

There is something in this proclamation of God’s character makes me pause. 

I grab a brochure and sit down to consider this.

I am struck by the idea that in this journey to “find a woman of peace” it is God who is the author of peace.  He wants to bring His peace to my life.  I am also amazed by the thought that just as He brings His peace into my life I can trust He will prepare a person of peace for me; and as I consider this, I begin to think that perhaps this journey to find a woman of peace is not primarily an external thing.  I didn’t see that coming! 

As I Set Sail I am aware of God’s love for me.  I am aware of his provision.  I am aware that He wants my good, as I seek him and desire to be part of His vision, where disciples reproduce.  He wants me to be a woman of peace.

I step into the Storm Room and take a seat on steps.   I watch as people walk out on the water.  Like Peter, when Jesus says, “Come,” these people step out in faith.  The waves are churning and still they go.  I spy a spot high up and walk across the waters where I find a place to rest on the edge of a wave.

I sit and think about the storms that have been raging in me during this BRAVE journey.  Fear is something I have battled again and again in my life.  This time fear comes in the form of a full life.  How does this challenge fit into it?  I am not sure I see that yet.  I am afraid of being overwhelmed.  Yet, I realize, Jesus knows my capacity better than I do. 

I keep coming back to that chart room message: “I am the author of peace.”

All I can think is that God will take care of finding a woman of peace.  He wants me to concentrate on the internal journey of finding my peace in Christ.

With this revelation I move into the sanctuary.

I move through in the sand up to the front and find a spot to sit on a wooden bench.

I sit and listen to the music.

I lift up praise.

I thank God for speaking to me.

It is good to rest here in His presence.

In His presence I find peace.

As the minutes pass and I finally stand to leave.  I leave knowing that I do not go alone.

The peace of Christ goes with me.  He is with me wherever I go.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  -John 14:27 NIV


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek Christ and step boldly into the plans He has laid out for us—especially when they seem bigger than we can handle.  May we find that He is the peace in the midst of the stormy places.  May we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  May we discover that He never leaves us or forsakes us.  May we come to know His faithfulness anew.

Jessica :)

A big thank you to my dear husband for capturing some photos of the prayer experience for me.  It wasn't until long after I returned I wished I had thought to pull out my camera!

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