Creativity, Creation and Holy Spirit Sensitivity


During one of my classes, I took one of those spiritual gift tests (which are the gifts God gives you to fulfill your purpose in life and even if you are not a born again Christian, these gifts can be in your talents i.e. carpenter, financial advisor, technical wiz, etc.).  During the course of this test, it was determined that my gifts include artisan/craftsmanship, writer, and even music…and thought, I can understand the first two; however, music is one that still puzzles me.

After all, I do love music and have been in choirs over the year; however, I cannot read music; however, I just love to tune into music especially worship music sing with my heart to my Lord and Savior.  I tend to be more sensitive when it comes to the Holy Spirit during moments of worship, either at church, in my car, or even in my home.  Though I learned a long time ago to never drive and listen to a song that really puts you in tune to the Holy Spirit ‘cuz one tends to start crying their eyes out.

Like the music that allows me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, so does being creative…I love sitting in a natural spot like my grandparents’ old farm, Mount St Helens, a forest, or even a lakeside beach as the sun either rises into the sky or slowly sinks into the horizon.  Then I contemplate what the scenery would like if I took the picture, drew something, or even journaled about the view.

During this contemplation, my thoughts eventually turn to God and seeking His voice as I try and determine what He wants from me or simply to communicate with Him without all of the distractions.  Sometimes I have created poetry or sometimes I just write out the words God is saying to me.  After all,  He does want our attention and we are too busy to give Him our undivided attention.

In the end, I feel refreshed and look forward to the next chat…something I haven’t done in a while until recently when I was at a church campout…I went on a walk, met quite a large beetle, and soaked up His presence.  I didn’t have pen or paper to write but I did take pictures including the beetle, who was determined to cross the path even with obstacles in his way.

Questions:

  1. How do you seek out God and become sensitive to His spirit?  What tools do you use to write or capture the thoughts He gives You?  Even if you do not have a artistic or writing gift, are there other tools you can use?
  2. What obstacles are in your way to fulfill your purpose or the path God wants for you?  Are you determined to fulfill them or is something holding you back?
  3. What is your favorite spot to contemplate God, life, or even your future?
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Stepping Back in the Journey and Forging On


Hi everyone, I think I’m back…

Since it has been a while since I posted a blog, I thought I would give an update and let you know about my next round of blogs, which may be sporadic but I hope to keep them going once I get started again.  So, the last few months have been hectic with hubby in and out of the hospital with everything from strokes, infections, pneumonia, you name it.  Along with that, I was diagnosed with diabetes and so I have been working on controlling that as well as focusing on school and my husband’s health.

Thus, my husband’s care became more than I can handle so our journey has taken a step backwards…for the good.  We packed up our belongings and moved back home to Marysville to be closer for the family support as well as help in caring for my husband.  Praying he lasts a few more years especially with this round of hospital visits.  Even as I write this blog, we had another visit to the hospital due to an infection.

Even with what seems like a setback, we are still forging on with our dreams as we focus on my husband, our “new” home and my master degree.  Yet, even the master degree has taken another journey as I returned to Hope International for various reasons; however, I will be completed about this time next year with four more required classes to take plus two extra…

As for the blog, well, after a few more blogs about this latest path of the journey, I will be writing about a spiritual journey that is creative and fun as I take you, my readers, on a journey that will help all of us develop a deeper relationship with God.

In conclusion, you may be wondering – did we misunderstand God when we went to the Spokane area?  Or even with school?  We still have the dream to someday open up a community style coffee shop; however, we are not sure about the location yet.  Thus, look to the future and know that God is in control and He will help us figure out our next step in the journey.

After all, according to Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So have you ever followed through on plans only to have a setback?  How did you overcome these setbacks?

Another Change to the Path


Well, my path is changing once again…or I should say, I am returning to a path to fulfill a dream that started 27 years ago when I attended a weekend visitation at then Northwest College.  That dream was to earn a degree at Northwest and since then I’ve been on a series of paths that have taken me all around life.

I started this journey over 8 years ago when I entered their BA in Ministry Leadership program as a person yearning for a college degree.  After an issue with finances, I dropped out and continued my journey at Hope International.

After earning my BS in Human Development at Hope, I flittered from one Master program to another, trying to decide the best fit for me while yearning to return to Northwest University, yet unable to because it would have meant traveling 30 or so miles once a week, late at night, and away from my disabled husband at night.  So I scrapped that plan and started the MA in Pastoral Care at Hope, with still the yearning to go back to Northwest.

Then, recently while taking a break from Hope, I realized that I still had that dream so I checked out the programs at Northwest and discovered they finally had an online Master in Ministry program that I can do while living 300 miles from the school. Yes!  So, I applied and just learned today that I have been accepted and will be starting in less than 2  month so there will be a lot of scrambling to get registered, etc.

This is so exciting to finally end my educational journey at Northwest, the school that started the dream…plus I will be able to have more people at graduation versus if I was still at Hope, which is in Southern California.  They have an internship/special project class to learn to be a pastor while being able to get my credentials to become a pastor.  I cannot wait so I can finally have the right tools to show people the Good News of the Gospel and teach them about a Savior who is compassionate and wants them to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven!

Even now, in my Matthew class, I am learning so much more about the Gospel and wish to spread what I learn to other people yet I need prayer to overcome a weakness of being shy and often not able to express the Good News to people in a face to face conversation.

Many, even I, may wonder why God is using a shy – something very imperfect person – to reach out to people as a pastor.  Yet, I am reminded that God used imperfect people for His purpose.   The Bible is full of them…

So, in conclusion, remember that you may not always wonder why God is using you, just believe that He does have a purpose for you and to keep on that path.  If you’ve strayed from your intended path, pray to Him and ask Him how to get back and He will, in a surprising ways, like He showed me how to go back to Northwest University.

So, what is keeping you from your purpose in life?  Do you worry that you are not perfect enough?  Or, that you have strayed so far that you can’t get back?

Standing at a Crossroad


Wow!  it’s hard to believe that today marks the 1 month anniversary since we moved to our new town.

Since our move, we have learned a lot about each other, living in a small town and how God works even as we remain faithful to Him (even if we were unfaithful, He still works things out as He remains faithful to us).

Even the cat is enjoying the new home – though she put up a big fuss on the way over – as she cuddles with me at night and continues to beg for her dinner if I’m even a few minutes late in giving her dinner.

We’re learning that yes it does rain in this area though people have said it does not.  The last few days have been blustery with wind and rain as the temperatures drop.  The heater has been on for about a week and we realize that we may be in for a winter as cold as everyone talks about.  Hopefully I will have a white Christmas unless we are able to make it home for Christmas.

Yes, we still have the vision of opening up a community-type coffee shop as we discovered that there is at least one building for sale here in town.  If it’s God will and He provides, we would like to purchase it since it has at least 3 office spaces, 4 apartments, and it overlooks the lake with a trail nearby.

The downside is that we heard businesses – especially food industries – struggle in this area and if we wanted to live in one of the apartments, we would have to install an elevator and do other “remodeling” jobs to make it into a business.

Another downside is that the town often resists improving the area in order to attract visitors, wanting to keep its small town charm.  I see their point; however, maybe it’s time to attend council meetings and become involved with the politics of this town.  I can see some needed changes like maybe revitalize downtown with fresh paint, some greenery, and someway to make it appealing to those traveling 2 major freeways and give potential visitors a reason to travel out of their way.

Therefore, we need prayer in the following areas:

1) For this town that God opens the eyes of the local people without stepping on toes.  Perhaps we can make a change in this little town while keeping its charm and peacefulness.

2) Prayer that God opens a job up for me or provides the financing to purchase a building and/or remodel it for His Glory

3) For Dene’s health – we are finding great doctors; however, if it’s God’s will, I want him around so we can work on this plan together as husband and wife

4) For the local churches that they can work together to make a change for His glory and help us with elbow grease, resources, and other needs.

5) That there is a revival in this town and the small churches become crowded with people as they desire to learn more about Jesus.

Above all, even with these prayers, we must remember that God directs our path and He will provide in order to help us fulfill His purpose.  I’ve learned a new verse about paths and as we stand at the crossroads of these major freeways plus a minor highway, we must allow God to direct our steps as we prepare to go down a new road in our journey:

Jeremiah 6:16 (New International Version): This is what the Lord says:  “Stand at the crossroads and look;     ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”

One final thing that I have realized is that Dene and I live near two major crosswords as one of the highways crosses path with two of the main arterials through town.  We are praying that God helps us take the right path to reach out to people as we continue to hear His voice…

So, are you standing at a crossroad in your journey?  Do you know which path to take?

How wide is your path?


Well howdy again, this is Ann’s husband and I will be writing tonight’s blog (yes, God has healed after the trip to the emergency room of dehydration).

Has anyone in authority ever told you to get on the straight and narrow path?

I was that young person that was told that by my senior pastor, he was a retired air force colonel and when he told you something; you always put it into action.

That was thirty five years ago and ever since then I have only fell off the straight and narrow once.

Now Ann and I are starting down a straight and narrow path to Las Vegas, you ask? How can you be on the straight and narrow in Las Vegas?

We saw quite a few hurting and lost souls in Vegas during our recent trip.  We also went to a thriving church, in the same area.

Just don’t make sense why someone couldn’t get the two together…Especially since less than 35% of the population in Nevada are affiliated with any religious organizations!  Turns out Nevada is one of ten states that fall into this statistics.  It’s time someone did something about the lost and hurting in Nevada…though ministries are thriving in that area.

So that’s why Ann and I are heading down to see if we could cast our vision to some churches and groups of pastors, thank you Jesus they will catch our vision.

This has been a long road with a lot of false starts and misleading dreams but now after much prayer on our knees and listening to the still small voice,

We are right at the jumping off place, it’s very scary.

We move ahead with faith and mercy leading our way.

So when it’s your vision or dream calling to you be bold and courageous and walk the straight and narrow path and find others that are excited about your vision, start casting and bring in the harvest.

But first we need to plant the seed…

Thanks for listening…Dene Cole (The Praying man)

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What path are you traveling on?  Is it narrow or wide?

The burden of too much junk in our lives…both materially and spiritually


Well, we started the process of packing yesterday.  So far we have a small stack of boxes, a blessing pile, and furniture is being labeled; however, as I pack, I am sorting through the bookcases around the television that contained books, CDs, and movies.  As I sort through this assortment of “stuff,” I do wonder why people collect so much stuff as I get rid of material things as well as junk within me that may be holding me back from fulfilling my vision.  After all, if we put too much stuff on the moving truck, it will come at a cost just like other junk in our lives will come at a cost.

Have you ever seen what happens to a person when they are walking or climbing up a path and have too many burdens on their shoulders?  It weighs them down and they struggle to get through life. 

After all, sometimes we all carry too much baggage called fear, sin, and guilt as we step into this path to fulfill our vision in life and we get weight down with it.  Jesus wants me to give it all to Him; therefore, I need to release it to my Redeemer and live a more carefree life that is not over burdened with junk.

According to Gal 5:1 (NIV) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.   Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” 

This passage means that Jesus paid the price so that we are no longer burdened by the slavery of sin.  The Biblical idea of freedom is related to slavery and being released from a lifetime of servitude; however, Christ’s ministry was about liberation from sin and the darkness.  On the other hand, just because we have this freedom in Christ, we do not have the liberty to continuously sin.  Therefore, we must do our best not to sin and release this burden of sin by confessing of our sins on a daily basis.

What does this have to do with preparing for our vision?  In order to fulfill a person’s God given purpose, they need to make sure their heart is right and they are truly living free from sin.  After all, our dream will be to reach out to other people and if we are habitually sinning, how will we reach people?   Therefore, my husband and I are making sure we do have peace in our hearts as we release any sin in our souls by asking for repentance…

What burdens are you carrying around that are holding you back?  Whatever your burdens, you can surrender them all to Jesus.  After all, He is the junk remover and He paid the price at the Cross for our freedom.