We live in a world full of slaves, held captive by their own desires. If you are lucky in this life you will see some of those slaves set free. They will chose instead to become slaves of righteousness. I have been so lucky, and can testify that you are better off as a slave chained to righteousness, than as a slave chained to sin.
Four months ago, we opened the doors to the Anthem church, Tempe to welcome the broken and hurting and celebrate life in Jesus. Since then we have seen many slaves set free and have watched God make beauty from their ashes as they begin to live life driven by the truth of Gods word. In our short time as a church we have celebrated new freedom and life in Christ thru water baptism, and have heard testimony after testimony that would lead me to believe we are in the midst of a revival in the hearts of many. And greater things are still to come.
Mariana Marquez, was the first slave to publicly relinquish her chains for the cause of Christ at the Anthem. Her friends and family say that she is a new person, and I have witnessed her longing for the nourishment of Gods word. She, and many others like her, are the reason the church exists.
Her desire to grow in the faith led her to enroll in the School of Ministry at Calvary of Albuquerque this fall. I am posting her support letter on this blog:
- To celebrate what God has and is doing.
- Because big steps of faith are often fueled by encouragement, and I want to get behind her.
Here is how you can help:
- Financial giving: if you want to help Mariana go to school of ministry you can by contacting Calvary of Albuquerque and making a donation towards her tuition.
- Prayer: pray that God would use this year she is setting apart for Him to equip her for the work He has for her and that others would be drawn to Jesus thru her life of faith.
- Encouragement: leave a comment for her here or send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (If you are in ABQ, make sure and give her a big squeeze when you see her in the fall).
- Share: FB, twitter, any other means you can think of. Share her story, sure, but more importantly, share the story of Jesus who came to set captives free and break the chains of sin. Who died, so that anyone who would trust in Him would be free to truly live. We are all slaves, either to sin or to righteousness, but only righteousness leads to life.
Here is her story
“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth, shall you know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Isaiah 43:19. God is amazing! He continually grows and works in you. He wants to accomplish so much more for you, more then you can possibly imagine. In order for Him to do this you must keep moving forward. Sometimes in order to move forward and for Him to continue to grow you, one must move away from friends, family, and from your comfort zone. Essentially, for me, that means moving away from home; from my nest of security. He has called me to move to New Mexico to attend the School of Ministry. He has sparked a desire in my heart to gain more knowledge, to be poured into, and to be better equipped in order to serve Him better. He has prompted me to move by the 17th of August. This is the biggest leap of faith I have taken and with this comes fears: fear of the unknown, fear of finances and of failure. But God is great and “hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7. So I am writing this letter to you my friends and family to ask that you please keep me in your prayers as I take this journey filled with tests and trials. I ask that you pray for peace and faith and that I continue to seek the Lord and to have obedience. I also would appreciate any financial support. I need to raise 50% of the tuition by August 11th which comes out to be $900. Anything would be a blessing for me, whether it be money or just prayer. He is doing great things for me, for the Anthem, and for everyone! It has been a blessing knowing all of you.
Much Love and God bless,
Praying for you this week. That God would make us generous with our encouragement, time, prayers, and resources.
Today you’ll hear from the heart of Carol Ortiz. She is the wife of pastor Fernando Ortiz of Mile High Calvary Church in Highlands Ranch CO, and mother to three beautiful children. (Interesting tidbit, Nick and I were guests at their church when we felt confirmation to move to Phoenix!) Anyway, she is awesome, and I’m stoked to have her share her story with you.
I have been studying prayer lately and a verse that has stuck with me is Matthew 11:28 “”Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus is saying that the prerequisite for coming to him is weariness. As a mom and pastors wife, I can easily admit I am physically weary and when I’m honest and humble I know my spiritual state is no different! What’s left circulating in my mind is, “if he wants the weary to come to him, why do we muster up such strange prayer methods and ideas?’ I think we have ingrained in our heads that we need to become prayer warriors that come in prayer sure-footed with long eloquent prayers that always start with adoration and end in supplication (you know the ACTS thing). Surely there is a time for that, I guess. But as I read through the Psalms, I see true heartfelt soul pouring prayers. David is really connecting with the Lord. There are Psalms where he utters beautiful praise and thanksgiving to his God, but there’s a lot that begin with questions, and pleads for help. Some are even angry. As I was observing this it hit me that while we want to honor God in our prayers and show our reverence to Him, it does not honor God when we pray what’s on our lips only and not what’s in our hearts.
If we come to him weary and more childlike, our prayers would be more “prayerful”, more like fellowship. More like connecting with the Father like Jesus did in the garden, like David did while hiding in caves and repenting as a King. Could we come to Him seeking Him instead of a successful prayer life? What would happen if we put quality over quantity? What if instead of pushing all of our thoughts about the day out of our prayers, we prayed about them? I’ll bet (because we see it in the Psalms) our prayers would start more genuine and could end in beautiful praise and thanksgiving that’s not interrupted with our thoughts.
Love what God is showing you about communion with Him. Thanks for sharing Carol.
Feel free to leave comments for Carol here or email her at email@example.com
Dreams are radical, powerful, uncontainable thoughts that propel us to realize the boundless potential we have in Christ. When in accordance with God’s will, I might add, they are unstoppable! More than anything else, I get stoked to see people taking God at His word and living their dreams.
Shealeen Puckett is one of those people. She and her sister Elle are the faces behind the music of Poema, a pop/country duo from Rio Rancho, NM.
Besides being ridiculously adorable and insanely musically
talented (seriously you’ll want to click this link), Shealeen is also a brilliant intro-personal story-teller (a word I just invented to mean a person who tells stories to themselves… I’d like to add it to wikipedia since it’s more common that I thought) When @shealeenlouise confessed earlier this week,
I begged her to share this wonderfully fun talent with you! So without saying anything more, I give you:
A Moment in the Mind of Shealeen Puckett
“As Shealeen walks out of the library she feels the stares of others around her. In her wrinkled sweatpants, mismatched socks (one white, one green), stained grey sweater, and messy, unbrushed hair, she knows she is probably a fearsome sight to behold. To top it all off, she is painfully aware of the squeaking sound her new leather shoes make with every step. A curious problem, easy to acknowledge in the pin-drop-silence of a library. She laughs silently as she drops her assortment of new literature on the passenger seat and starts the ignition. Her mode of transportation – a large purple passenger van that she and her siblings use for touring in. The irony of it all was amusing.
She had recently sold her own car so that they could afford the van. A reasonable decision at the time, but driving a monstrous vehicle around town now seems to her uncomfortable. The car uses as much gasoline as a small airplane and makes her look more like a soccer mom than a touring musician. A soccer mom who, from the looks of it, get’s dressed in the dark”
I know this is a silly example, but if you could have heard my thoughts as I left the library a few afternoons ago, it would have sounded very similar to this. My musings often sound like a book narration. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing that it’s because I’ve been a bookworm throughout my life. Books are fascinating! They can break our hearts, make us laugh, make us think, make us reflect, all because of a specific arrangement of different words!
I love a good story. There is something so inspiring about great characters, interesting settings, complex plot, and a satisfying resolution.
But I often remind myself is this: Nobody would read a story that didn’t have a little conflict! Who wants to read about people who never have anything go wrong in their cushy lives? A good story needs adversity! It develops character and ultimately leads to a more rewarding “happily ever after.”
Obviously nobody likes to go through unpleasant circumstances, but every great story needs a little trouble. God writes our stories as we go through this life! And the life God has for His children is better than the best book you’ve ever read. Someday the story of our time on earth will be complete. Bound and sealed. No more opportunity for edits or directional change. When we reach that point, what kind of story will our lives tell? One of courageous leaps of faith; willingly following our maker wherever He leads us? Or one of cowardice; unwilling to go where there could be danger? I don’t think that a comfortable; risk-free life ever made for interesting reading!
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Shealeen, you are the sweetest of the sweet! Thanks for sharing for the awesome reminder that God is the author of our story and the finisher of our faith! So thankful He fulfills our wildest dreams by making us His children!
I’d like to invite She Laughs Blog readers to Share Your Story. Share Your Story gives you an opportunity to share the joy of the Lord through one of your funny little moments.
If you would like to share your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could be featured on a quirky little blog about life with God :0).
You never know who your story might touch until you tell it.
Can’t wait to hear from you!