Saturday, December 24, 2011

blessings

This semester was rough.  Over the last couple days as I spend ample amount of time with the Lord, He has been showing me an overarching theme.  


Do not let your heart envy sinners.


This semester, I spent a lot of time envying sinners.  I spent too much time daydreaming of being rebellious.  I decided in my heart that Christianity wasn't very fun.  That following Jesus was hard work and not enjoyable.  I never stopped wanting to follow Jesus, but I just wanted to take a break from the whole idea of holiness and go crazy for a bit.  


I didn't really "go crazy," but I did sin.  I don't think I have it in me to "go crazy."  Christ is just too strong in me and I'm too submitted to His will, though I can trail away a bit.  I truly did spend the semester with my heart envying sinners.  


Then instead of my Papa smacking me into submission, He's gently covered me with sweet kisses.  How can I envy sinners when I have such a great Papa?!  


My heart has completely returned to Him, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.  I am abundantly blessed and joyous.  What a beautiful picture of the Father's love.  I was running from Him.  Instead of Him throwing rocks at me to knock me on my face bleeding, crying out for help, He led a vibrant man of God into my life, to treat me like a princess and show me pure joy.  


My life is flowing with blessings.  I'm completely captivated by my Jesus; fully surrendered and in love with Him.  I'm finally resting in my Father's love and acceptance.  I'm dating the guy I've always prayed for and we absolutely adore each other.  


It's the kindness of God that leads man to repentance.  [Romans 2:4]

Friday, December 2, 2011

grace

Recently I've developed this idea in my head that I want to be rebellious.  It occurred to me that sin sounds fun.  So I started taking actions to be "rebellious."  Not anything too extreme, but non-the-less, rebellious.  


I started feeling very guilty about it, because I know I'm better than the things I was doing.  If for no other reason, it was unhealthy.  


I was talking to my good friend about the mistakes I had been making and how I wanted to sin, then almost out of no where, I said to him that my life is always going to be messy because I want nothing more than to be with the messed up.  I went on to list all of these things that my heart is crying out to do.  Then a few hours later I watched this incredible sermon another friend was teaching.  It rocked my world.  I'm not going to go in detail, I would rather just encourage you to watch it, but it talked about being a new creation.  The thing about this guy is that he makes his teaching practical and tells you how to live it.  He literally used a diagram and gives so many illustrations that it's almost impossible to not understand the message.  He literally talked about how sometimes Christians get the idea that it would be fun/enjoyable to sin.  Or how other Christians just feel like because they struggled with it before Christ, they always will struggle with it.  He explained the concept of becoming a new creation, then how to renew your mind.  To watch his video, click HERE.  To read an article of his on renewing your mind, click HERE.


His video really brought me full circle.  I saw that my mind was being deceived that I wanted to sin.  I remembered what I told my other friend about wanting to devote my life to messy people.  I realized my heart knows who I am.  That I am a new creation.  However my mind was trying to convince me that although I was a new creation, my actions still would reflect my old nature.  False.  My actions will reflect my new nature.  I just have to train my mind to remember who I am in Christ.  I am hidden in Him and I shall not forget again.  I have the Hebrew word "zakar" tattooed on my wrist, which means "to remember."  You'd think I would have gotten the hang of it by now...  


I'm thankful for grace.  


I'm thankful that God doesn't give up on me, even when I hurt Him and run from Him.  


I'm thankful that I am a new creation with a heart of holiness.


Feel free to take a glimpse into my heart, into my Fathers heart...  


(I wrote this a few minutes ago into a message to my friend who preached the new creation sermon)
My heart just desires to be sitting on the dirt floors of brothels brushing the hair of a girl as she prepares herself for her night at "work," selling her body to numerous men, I want to be there, loving her out of her bondage and into the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus. I want to go into villages that have been cursed so that no baby will make it out of her mothers womb because girls are disposable, and I want to speak life over the women and tell them about a God who values them, a God who created them in His image. I want to touch lepers and see their rotted limbs turn new. I want to sing orphans to sleep and have them tell me about the dreams they have of this big Papa who dances with them in the moonlight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A new outlook on life (:

 I know not too many people read this blog, so I feel okay posting this.  


I'm officially slowing down.  


I'm not graduating in May.  I'm not taking 18 credit hours ever again.  I'm not going to live for the future.  I'm not moving to Vegas.  


I'm going to be completely vulnerable with you here...  I was on the verge of needing to be admitted to a psych ward.  I cannot handle life as is anymore.  I'm far to overwhelmed and spiraling downward.  I cry waaaaay too much, far more than a normal person.  I've been feeling depressed.  I was believing lies.  


I saw that I was going down a path that led to death, not life.  A path that was hopeless.  Thank God I realized this before it was too late.  But I'll be honest, it took my best friend months of telling me to stop before I actually listened.  Seems like the best decisions I've made in life are things that I avoided for months, then once I actually went through with them, my life was forever changed.  


So I'm trusting that this is going to change my life for the better, just like in high school, after months of a friend persisting on my need to go to church with him, I finally went and Jesus captured my heart and I have never been the same.  


Now, I don't know what I'm doing.  I've decided to no longer live in expectation of what the future will hold.  I am not going to live for the next moment, for the next season, for the next year.  I am going to live in this beautiful moment that my Papa has given me.  I'm going to take every minute as a blessing.  


You know, the unknown is where I belong. What child rules the household and makes plans for the future? It's not the child that spends hours planning meals and scheduling playdates, etc. The kid just plays in his parent's house and his daddy feeds him and takes him places. The child doesn't stress out that he might not have food, he knows his dad will provide. I belong in the unknown. I was created to call him Abba, Father. He's my Daddy, not my husband, not my kid.


So here I am.  Completely free of the unrealistic standards that I've created for myself.  


I am loved.  I am His girl.  I'm in His lap.  I'm right where I belong. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What is the role of a man in the fight against human trafficking?


I read this awesome blog by a radical guy named Matthew Snyder. Today he posted a blog proposing the question: What is the role of a man in the fight against human trafficking? I immediately started typing away, and before I knew it, I had typed almost two pages single spaced... So I decided instead of posting it as a comment on his blog, I would answer his question on my own blog.

I believe the only way to eradicate human trafficking is to end demand. So what is the role of the man in fighting human trafficking? Set a standard for other men, to NEVER look at porn. Start a movement of pure men who are above the sex industry. Pornography is the "gateway drug" into sex trafficking. If there there were no men willing to pay to have sex, there wouldn't be girls on the streets selling their bodies. People put blame on the girls for being whores and the pimps for being traffickers, but I think the blame needs to be shifted to the johns. Those sluts are coerced captives. Those pimps are business men who are just as screwed up as the girls. It's the johns who started innocently looking at porn while their wives were nursing the babies in the other room. Then they were hooked and it became an addiction. Shortly, the videos and pictures just weren't enough. Their wives weren't putting out enough and were just normal. They needed something more. It's the johns who need to sleep with a prostitute.

Men need to make higher standards. Men need to eradicate the pornography industry because it's a drug just as bad as cocaine. Men need to start loving their families more than themselves. Men need to stop talking to their buddies about sex and start talking about holding one another accountable to not look at porn. Every time porn is accessed it creates demand for more. That demand leads to demand for sex to be sold. That demand for selling sex leads to 11 year olds being coerced by some cool guy who is ten years older than her who actually treats her nice and tells her that he loves her. Then the next thing she knows, she's agreeing to run away from home and move to Vegas with her "boyfriend." Then he tells her they need cash to survive, so he needs her to have sex with one of his friends; that it would make him so happy. She is in love, so of course she will. Suddenly, she's 17, her name is now "Princess," she's bottom ho, and brings in $1,500 a night.

Despite all that, women also need to set a higher standard for themselves. Dressing sleazy will never be considered a good thing. Girls need to have confidence and self-worth. However a lot of that comes from having strong fathers and father-figures in their lives, something that is definitely lacking these days.  Men just need to step it up.

That answer is mainly for ending human trafficking in America, but honestly, I feel like it goes for the entire world. When I was walking through Kamathipura, one of the main redlight districts in Mumbai, this summer, I looked into the eyes of the men on the streets and experienced how they saw me as a piece of meat, nothing more. Most of the world views women as possessions. That's just the way it is. To be completely honest, it sucks. I know I'm not going to be received in much of the ministry that I want to do because I'm female. In fact, I feel like I can't actually move to India to start my life until I get married, so that when I go into a hostile village in North India, I will have a man with me to help us be received rather than immediately rejected for my sex and skin color. Personally, I need a man who is going to spend hours in prayer with me and for me every time I walk into a brothel and talk to the girls. I need a man who is so above reproach that I won't have to worry when he and I walk through the redlight districts past scantily dressed women. I pray always for my future husband that his thoughts would be so focused on heaven and things above that he can't even see the devils schemes to reel in his thought life, because his thoughts have already been purchased and they belong to Jesus Christ.

Honestly, our society needs a wake up call. Our world needs a Savior. We were put on this earth to be salt and light, and I'm afraid a lot of todays "Christians" have lost their saltiness. I pray that through groups of us "burning ones" would begin to set the world on fire with the love of Jesus. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, so let's get to it. There is a world in need. It's time to stand up for the cause of the poor and needy. Today is the day to speak up for the voiceless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

big news, lots of homework, and a great God


This is probably the fourth or fifth time that I've sat down and starting tapping away at a blog post... yet I haven't posted any. Why do you ask? I don't even have time to breathe. Quite literally, I probably need to be working on my breathing more because my asthma is acting up so badly, but I don't have time. It's sort of like every week is finals week; not because of the exams, but because of the amount of time I spend studying. Allow me to update you on my life.

I'm graduating a year early after all. I'm officially a senior at Liberty University. I won't be able to walk in May because I'll have two classes and my internship to complete over the summer, but I will have my bachelor's degree by August. You might ask, so Casey, after you graduate, what are your plans? Well this is my big news. Big, big, BIG news.

I planting a church with a group of incredible people in … wait for it … LAS VEGAS !

Say WHAT, Casey ?!?

Yep, in 8-9 months, I'm packing up my life and moving 2,000 miles across the country into the desert lands of Sin City. This is my first public announcement. Thus far, only close friends and family know my big plans.

Our church planting team is comprised of some of the greatest people I know. A professor of mine from freshman year, who happens to be my best friend's dad, is going to be the lead pastor. I am so blessed and excited to be serving on a team with such godly men and women. You can check out Dr. Earley's blog by clicking here. Our church is going to be called Grace City Church.

I'll let you explore Grace City Church's website, but here's a taste of our heartbeat for this church:
Grace City is a church that is committed to doing very hard things In really tough places so God gets all the glory. 
Grace City Church is a life-giving faith community devoted to Jesus through absolute obedience to everything He commanded. 
We strive to live extra-ordinary lives of prayer, discipleship, disciple-making, worship, the Word of God, evangelism, and love. 
We want to be a house of prayer for all nations that exhales disciples who will take the gospel all over the world or die trying. 
In May of 2012, we will be moving to downtown Las Vegas, Nevada a few blocks from the Las Vegas Strip and across the street from UNLV.
I'm excited and blessed and I hope you are too. This is going to be a crazy adventure I go on. I'm currently looking for a health promotion internship in Vegas for the summer and ideally I'll be able to find a real job to start in August in my field of study. I think it would be incredible to work for a health department or a non-profit, creating programs and awareness campaigns for various issues in the health field. I plan on staying in Vegas for as long as I feel the Lord leading and then move to India. Living in India is my long-term goal.

As for the present, I just got prescribed to use a nebulizer twice daily for my asthma. I had to stop doing one of the ministries that I've been involved in for the last couple years because I am so overwhelmed with school. I'm taking 18 hours and I work about 19 hours a week and I have SO MUCH homework. I adore my classes and am learning more than I have ever learned in school, but they are time consuming.

Despite the rough season of chaos that I'm dwelling in, Jesus is remaining so faithful. He has really just put the most incredible people in my life to wrap their arms around me when I fall to the ground and don't think I can make it another day. Also the Lord has truly given me the strength to walk out my saintly identity that I have found in Him. I can honestly say that I love myself and am beautiful, which is a HUGE step for me. I find myself desperately seeking time with the Lord. Jude 20-21 say: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” In moments of fear and defeat where my faith starts to waiver, the Lord stirs me to pray in the Holy Spirit and that is what has kept me going these last 5 weeks, since school began. I am so thankful to the Lord for His reminders and freedom and healing that He brings.


Here is a video I made testifying about the freedom Jesus has given me.

On another note, two years ago today, I received a full deliverance from the Lord and my life was turned upside-down. I praise Him for the work that He has done in me over the last two years. I'm definitely a different person and I know many people who can vouch for that. Thank You Lord.

I now need to go study, but I'm eager to hear everyone's responses to my public announcement about moving to Vegas. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

birthday vlog


Here is the video blog that I made on my birthday.  I never got internet that was good enough to upload a video, so now that I'm in America, I figured I'd let everyone in on the crazy video blogs that I made and the written blogs that I was unable to post. 

ten, do, ek, SMILE !

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christian Elephants

In the village I stayed in, in the mountains of Orissa, over 200 Christians were killed in 2008. Hundreds of houses were burnt to the ground, five thousand people displaced. The fear has not stopped these Jesus warriors. They have 180 churches with only 30 church buildings.

I'm not really sure how to type out my thoughts from this experience.
  • I was sick the whole time. I have a nasty head cold, and if you know me well, you know how I am when I get colds.
  • I ate with my hands the entire stay. We were not given silverware. Thus I now feel that I am allowed to call myself a real Indian. (We even once ate out of a leaf bowl).
  • I hate Indian food.
  • I taught Sunday school.
  • I met Compassion kids. :)
  • I visited churches that were burnt down and broken.
  • I heard testimonies.
  • I saw hope.
  • I also saw fear [and felt fear].
  • I was given many bouquets of flowers.
  • I encountered Holy Spirit hardcore in an orphanage.
  • I saw monkeys. I was in the real jungle.
  • I made friends.
  • I received a prophetic word.
  • I saw vision.
  • I encountered scripture coming to life to me for the first time.
  • I sang songs with little girls.
  • I drank chai and ate biscuits.
  • I ate food that was prepared with un-purified well water. As in, all the food I ate was prepared with un-purified well water.
  • I was afraid.
  • I have red dots all over my body... I'm pretty sure it's bed bugs. Fun.
  • I learned how to count to five and say dog and rooster in a language called “Que.”
  • I experienced a lot of power outages.
  • I took many photos.

That's a synopsis. So why is this titled “Christian Elephants,” you might ask? Right after all the attacks and persecution, many elephants came out from the jungle and damaged a lot of Hindu's and Animist's houses in the villages. So the Christians call the elephants “Christian Elephants.” Talk about Jesus. :)





Friday, July 15, 2011

Freedom

I left America 18 days ago. This is the longest I have ever been in a foreign country. Today I am having a very chill day. Tomorrow is my 20th birthday. I have been dying to be 20 for years, since most of my friends are older, but now that I'm actually turning 20, I find it very strange. Like I'm entering new territory or something. And I guess I am; I'll no longer be a teenager. This is my first birthday I've spent overseas. New territory of life in new territory of the world.

For most people, if you're reading this you're interested in my trip, hearing about what I've been doing and how God is moving. However, as I'm sure you've noticed, I blog about life and Christ, not so much day to day ministry. This isn't my “mission trip blog,” this is my life blog. I've had it for 3 years. This is my personal online diary that I allow the world to see. I want to be an open book. If you look through older posts, you will find hardship, tears, anger, pain, love, life, renewal, joy, etc. All that being said, if you're just interested in hearing just about my day in India, stop reading now.

Two weeks ago I got the privilege of meeting a little girl named Shabonna. If I told you anything about the ministry I'm working with before I left the country, I probably told you a story about a pair of siblings who would sleep under their mother's bed while she “worked” at night. How their mother got sick and was kicked out of the brothel. How the mother died of AIDS in the street with the kids sitting with her. How BTC picked them up and took them to the AIDS home. How the little brother had AIDS and the older sister told him she would never let anything happen to him. Well when I walked into the Jubilee 4 (the AIDS home), I was met by a bright little girl who introduced herself to me as Shabonna. Before I could even ask my leader if this was the same Shabonna from the story, I knew in my heart it was her. I watched her the whole evening. I watched her leadership, I watched as all the kids came in from school they ran and jumped into her arms, I watched as she held the small children and gave them kisses, I watched as she humbly received gifts just waiting to share them with the other children.

I've shed many tears thinking about this little girl in her hardships. To now see her as the bright shining star of my King, I was filled with so much joy. I look forward to sit down and talk to her for a bit and explain to her just how much she looks like Jesus.

I struggle a lot with condemnation and self-hatred. Even as I write this, I feel the Lord giving me a grace to overcome this huge part of my life and to give a message to the girls at Ashagram. I'm having a hard time trying to organize my thoughts, so forgive me if this is a bit jumbled.

Two of the women on the first India team adopted me as their spiritual daughter, so I now have two spiritual moms; Andrea and Alis. They are amazing women. The night we left Jubilee 4 I was telling Alis that I was so amazed by Shabonna and that I want to be like that. I want to have so much love welling up from inside of me that people are drawn to me. Typing that out makes it sound very arrogant, but I didn't mean it like that at all. I only love because God first loved me and love is not self-seeking. I am not seeking adoration from people, I was seeking the ability to give love better. Alis looked at me and was like, “Casey you already do that. When I looked at Shabonna I thought of you and how much you love people and how they love you. Whenever you step foot at Jubilee 1 and 2 you are surrounded by a group of girls who are latched onto you. You shine bright.” I completely denied it and shoved her statement under the rug of my heart, hidden away, ashamed.

Why would I be ashamed of a compliment? Because of the condemnation I have allowed to choke my life. Jesus planted me in fertile soil, but I let the enemy plant a thorn bush next to me, because I felt I didn't deserve to experience joy.

So here is my stand to freedom. I have lived in a place of self-hatred for too long. I love people and that is a beautiful gift from my Papa. This is not over, but here's to a new start, a new beginning, a new freedom, a new decade of life. (:


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In Christ Alone


I'm sitting on the ledge of a building on a huge teen challenge compound in India. It's extremely hot and humid. I'm literally dripping sweat and I'm just sitting here. But just to tell you how faithful my Papa is, I just said to Him, man I wish there was more of a breeze and immediately the wind starting blowing. My Father is good.  Here is a picture of where I am sitting as I write this (I don't have internet, so I probably wrote it several days before you are actually reading it).



Today has been a good day.  This morning I lead a devotional to former prostitutes who are either young Christians or unsaved.  I shared with them a little of my testimony and told them how they see me as pure, when they are in Christ, He sees them as pure.  It was really early in the morning and sort of hard to give the message with the translator.  I'm not sure if any of them really got what I was trying to say, but I know Holy Spirit will lead them into the truth they needed to receive from my words.

After that, I went to breakfast, ate a roll and chai, then dashed back to the girls dorms to teach a class. I've taught people stuff before, particularly in my HLTH and COMS classes back at Liberty, but this was the first time I've ever been the real teacher, teaching a real class, with a really important message. Class was one hour long. This time my translator was the sweetest girl that I sat with at dinner last night. She is seriously precious. She's 21 and has been with BTC for 12 or 13 years, since she was very young. It makes me so sad to know that if she's at Ashagram that means she has worked on “the strip” selling her body...  Which would make her 7 years old when she was “working.”  Heartbreaking. Her name is Anu. I'm really excited to get close to her. 

Anyways, Anu was my amazing translator. I made her laugh a lot. I'm not used to teaching, let alone teaching through a translator. I know I told all of you that I would be teaching health classes, and I will, but this class is actually a teen challenge class that everyone at Ashagram is required to go through. They have to go through this class and get a certificate before they can even get baptized. Baptism is a big deal here. But that is besides the point.  The book I am teaching is called Successful Christian Living. Chapter One is called “Who Am I?” All the sweet girls and ladies in my class were new believers. I think the youngest in my class was 13 years old. There were a couple older ladies, but most of them were in their teens. Teens rescued out of prostitution. Teens choosing to live for Jesus. They were all so beautiful. Since Anu was my translator, I got to get really interactive with them.  I had them tell me what people call them or what they call themselves.  I got answers like “fat,” “gorilla,” one girl was called “platform” because she has a big, flat nose. It was great to get them thinking and talking.  I wrote these words down on a dry erase board.  Then I would mark one out and say, “You are not _____, you are ______.”  Telling them who they are in Christ: God's child, Christ's friend, loved, purchased, free, growing, etc.  I had them read the scripture that went with each promise of God in Hindi. It was seriously so cool.  Almost makes me want to be a women's ministry major... well not really, but I am loving teaching this class.  I'm so excited to keep teaching it over the next few weeks and really get to know these girls. 





That has been today so far.  Yesterday was not so lovely.  I'm not going to go into great detail, but I was under a major attack from the enemy.  Lately when I can't sleep, the Lord has really been speaking loudly to me in the middle of the night.  So at like 1AM I typed on my ipod, “I think this may be the first time that I have ever understood myself to be actively falling in love with Love. I've said that I love Love many times, but I think that I am truly experiencing real joy for the first time in my life, because I am loving so much and really living love, in tern, experiencing real love. I have realized that you can't fall in love with Love without loving. Haha, I loveee joy.”  Maybe that doesn't make since to you, maybe that spoke volumes to you, but for me, it's these late night revelations that are keeping me faithful when the spiritual warfare is strong. 

Please keep praying for me. Pray for my girls. A big prayer request is that on Sunday I think I'm going to be playing Revelation Song on guitar in front of the church while my group sings it...  And well I'm just trusting God to get me better at guitar before then.  I borrowed a guitar to try to learn the song.

Shoutout to my guitar playing friends... Check out my attempt at a makeshift capo.


I have found ...


"For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." -Luke 12:12





I didn't have many expectations for this trip would be like.  I would rather be surprised than disappointed.  That isn't the greatest attitude to have, but mine was that.  I did however have expectations of what this trip would not be.  Again, probably a pretty bad idea. 

I did not expect for my spiritual vision to change.  It did.
I did not expect for Holy Spirit to completely guide my tongue.  He has.
I did not expect to have such peace about everything.  I have.
I did not expect to finally start believing that I'm beautiful. I am.
I did not expect to be brave and bold. Jesus is.
I did not expect to want to spend all my time with the teenagers. I do.
I did not expect for my thoughts to be taken captive. They are.
I did not expect for so much joy. It's here.

There are much more things than that.  Things that I was not expecting but are happening. 

Holy Spirit is moving so beautifully and changing me so peacefully. 

Before I left the country I told my friends that God had to be planning something great for India because the spiritual warfare prior to leaving was so intense and horrible.  I said that over and over again to friends, but I didn't believe it for myself.  I figured I would get to India and hate it after all these years of dreaming about the calling I felt God placed in my heart about this country.  I figured I would loathe it and be miserable.  I figured I would not be able to breathe and have lots of asthma attacks.  I figured I wouldn't be able to connect with anyone.  I figured the worst.

God is doing great things in me.  I love India.  As in, I have fallen completely head over heels in love with this nation.  I feel confirmation that I am supposed to move here after graduating.  I have had a hard time breathing and had to use my inhaler several times more than I would like to admit, but Jesus is hardcore healing my inside, so I trust that healing to my body will come shortly. I have connected with so many people. 




I walked through the red-light district with about 12 girls from the children's shelter.  I got ahead of the rest of my team because a sweet 15 year old named Esther had my hand. Esther told me about her family and begged me to pray over her. I got to write her a letter and pray over her.  I know the Lord touched her and will continue too.  She has great thirst for the Lord.




I got to be a part of a church service infilling new believers with Holy Spirit.  I got to lay hands on these newly baptize believers and pray that Jesus would fill them.  It was incredible.

I got to pray over 5 vibrant, teenage, lovers of Jesus at Jubilee 1 today.  Jubilee 1 is for 13-20 year olds who are the daughters of prostitutes.  The girls I prayed over (Prity, Sumi, Haseena, Sonu, & Jaya) are shining brighter than any other 15-17 year olds that I have ever seen.  These girls love Jesus and their actions scream it from the rooftops.  I got to pray for them and their families.  They prayed for me.  Sonu let me play her guitar and I taught them Set a Fire by United Pursuit Band.  It was so encouraging and just amazing.




One of the Ashagram boys, Roy, shared his testimony of being healed of tuberculosis and having a relationship with Jesus because of what BTC did for him.

Jesus is doing huge things in my life.  Let me leave you with these Kim Walker lyrics that just sum up the reality of what I have found. 

I have found a peace that plows on through the storm
I have found a joy that jumps over sadness.
I have found a love that lights up every room.
I have found; I've found You.
You are all I want, You are all I need; everything my heart could hope for.
We are longing for the glory of the Lord because we know there's so much more.
I have found a trust that teaches how to rest.
I have found a grace that guides me back again.
I have found a strength that stands like a mountain.
I have found; I've found you.
You are all I want, You are all I need; everything my heart could hope for.
We are longing for the glory of the Lord because we know there's so much more.

Friday, July 1, 2011

India; when darkness meets light


Disclaimer: I tried to start writing a blog last night, but I fell asleep.  I'm going to go ahead and post what I started writing then, but know that the time frame mentioned in the post is as if I was posting last night (on a side note I'm 9.5 hours ahead of home).

India; I have only been here 24 hours and I already have countless stories that I could tell you. India is dirty, beautiful, smelly, colorful, chaotic, etc. More than any of those things though, India is dark. The darkness is apparent anywhere you are, whether the hotel breakfast lounge or the red-light district. That being said, Bombay Teen Challenge gives off light like I have never seen any other ministry radiate love. These people have given everything in their lives to loving God and loving their neighbors, and let me tell you, they LOVE in action.  



There are over 100,000 prostitutes in Mumbai. Falkland Road is the largest red-light district in Mumbai. BTC has planted 8 or 9 house churches on Falkland Road. Kamathipura is the second largest red-light district in Mumbai.  BTC has planted 6 or 7 house churches in Kamathipura.

BTC has a free dental clinic and a free medical clinic in Kamithipura.  They have free meal feeding program on a big bus that they can drive around.  Every day they go feed hungry people in a different part of Mumbai.



In Kamathipura they also have a children's shelter. All the kids in the shelter are the children of sex workers; one child actually was working "the line" before she was taken by BTC. This shelter is a place the kids can live while BTC tries to convince the mother that the child would be safer if they moved to Ashagram (where I'm going on Sunday) or at a Jubilee home. These places are out of the city, far from the districts, taking the risk of them becoming sex workers away. 



I got to visit all of these areas today. The light that BTC radiates in unbelievable. I'm going to take a quick moment to expound upon the darkness in the red-light districts, just so you can understand what I'm experiencing, but then we'll focus back in on the Light.  

I walked through Kamathipura after dark … after the prostitutes were out. I think I now know what hell looks, smells, feels, and sounds like. We weren't supposed to be there after dark, but we got carried away loving on and playing with the kids at the children's home. The street was too narrow for the car to come all the way to where we were, so we had to walk some. There are 7 other ladies on my team.  We all had someone's hand and stuck close together. There were BTC people with us, so we were safe, but it was still scary. The darkness is thick. Once we got in the cars, we drove through Kamathipura and then to Falkland Rd. We passed one part of the district that was rows of cage brothels. Sex slaves never let out of their cages. Like hamsters, except they are human beings that my Papa created in His image. We drove past another part that was all boy sex workers. As we drove through the districts, I gazed into the eyes of these women. Several made eye contact with me. I saw the same thing in each of their eyes; hopelessness. Their eyes were empty, painful, hopeless. The Spirit groaned within me. I felt Proverbs 31:8-9 and Isaiah 58 rise up within me. Open your mouth…for the rights of all who are destitute. Defend the rights of the poor and the needy. Let the oppressed go free. Pour yourself out for the hungry. I prayed and prayed and couldn't stop praying. The Spirit prayed and groaned and cried out within me.

So far in India, I have seen dark and light. The darkness made me realize how bright the light really is. A few months ago the Lord showed me that you don't really notice an individual light in a room that is already completely lit. For example if there were 100 lightbulbs lit in a room, and turned one of them off, the room would not become dark. I am generally surrounded by thousands of other Christians at Liberty University. The Lord was like, "Casey, you need to light the darkness, not be light in a room that is already shining bright." Here I am; thousands of miles from home, shining bright in extreme darkness.  

Philippians 2:14-18 says, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me."


Oh and here is a video I took of the kids at the shelter singing and dancing to a Hindi worship song.  :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pre-India (TOMORROW!)

For ANM (Advancing Native Missions) I am supposed to write a brief synopsis of pre-India, while in India, and post-India paragraph.  I figured I'd post it on here since I have now given this blog to people who know I'm going to India.  

I am excited, I am nervous, I am still in the stage where it hasn't occurred to me that I'm going to India tomorrow.  I feel like when you're going on a big trip that you have been preparing for over a period of months, reality doesn't check in until you're on an airplane.  I am expecting big things for this trip.  How can I not when I have a big God?  I have been so beaten down by spiritual warfare lately that I know God has to move hardcore in the darkness of Mumbai.  I am stoked to speak life and love over people in India, whether they be Bombay Teen Challenge employees/volunteers, prostitutes, little children, AIDS victims, my own team members.  I am ready to be in India.  In 2009, knowing I would one day stand in India, I wrote this prayer:
Jesus have your way with India. My dreams belong wholly to you my King. I am Yours Beloved. You love your children in India and I love that I get to serve you. You Father, are going to change me in to such a new daughter after getting the opportunity to literally wash your feet, hold you, feed you, bathe you, massage your aching body, clean the pus from your wounds, love you Jesus.
I leave you, and the country with Matthew 25:34-40: “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father,inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This book ...



... is completely changing my life, shattering my paradigms, crushing lies, proclaiming truth, giving me the keys to living a John 17:13 lifestyle.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

holyspirit, hitchhikers, & healing

Yesterday my friend gave me a word about how when she looks at me she sees me as bold, strong, confident, and assured.  I do not see myself as that usually.  I should because that is who I am in Christ, but I haven't been.  Today I was having a rough, self-loathing day.

As I left church, for some reason I went the long back way instead of the short way.  As I drove around a curve, there were two people walking in the lane I was driving in.  I was on a two lane road and a car was coming in the other lane, so I had to completely stop my car [mumbling angry remarks under my breath] before the lady noticed there was a car behind her.  As she and the man moved to the side off of the road, for some reason, I rolled down my window and asked them if they were okay or needed anything.  

You need to understand, I was alone.  I WOULD NEVER PICK UP HITCHHIKERS BY MYSELF.  Yet I found myself unlocking the doors and telling this man and woman to get in my car.  

Larry and Victoria.

They were probably in their 50s.  Engaged.  Had a lot of health problems.  Victoria had had a seizure that morning.  Larry had been in a car accident recently, which is why they were walking to town, not driving.  

I drove them to a gas station.  I asked them if I could pray for them.  They said, "Yes please!"  I turned around and grabbed Victoria's hand as she sat in the backseat of my Ford Focus and I began to pray.  Commanding healing, praying blessings, following the Holy Spirit.  After I said amen, Victoria looked at me with a tear-stained face and said, "Woah, you really have the Spirit in you. Everything you prayed...wow."  

She didn't get out of the car and jump up and down saying she had no pain in her knees.  But I believe the Lord healed her.  

I know her and Larry both had a love encounter with the Holy Spirit.  Her tears made that very apparent. 

I got majorly encouraged and edified.  The word was true, I am bold, strong, confident, and assured.  I am that, because I have Holy Spirit inside me.  Without Holy Spirit, I got nothin' but with Him, wow...  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Holiness & Love

Under the Old Covenant, only certain people could touch “holy things.”  Whoever the priests (who were holy) touched, would become holy.  I’m reading through the Old Testament and am currently in Numbers.  I just read a passage that said, “Kohath shall come to carry these, but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die.” (Numbers 4:15). Reading the OT has really shown me the magnitude of Jesus’ death and resurrection and how it literally changed everything.  Under the Old Covenant, most people, even among the Israelites, where not seen by God as holy.  However, under the New Covenant, in Christ we are always seen as holy because Christ is holy and we are in Him.  
There is a shelf above where my head rests on my pillow when I am laying in bed.  On the bottom of this shelf, the last time I was home from college, I wrote “There is nothing you can do to make God love you anymore than He already does.  There is also nothing you can do to make Him love you any less.”  This may seem confusing or not like a big deal, but think about it.  He isn’t going to love me more because already loves me perfectly. He isn’t going to love me less because Jesus died to take away my sins once and for all and Love counts no record of wrong.  So no matter how many times I tell Jesus I love Him, but then spit in His face, He still loves me just as much as when I read the entire books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs in one night.  No matter if I pray for 24 hours and do a 40 day liquid only fast, He’s not going to love me any more than when I said mean things to my mom.  He loves me perfectly and there is nothing I can do to change that. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

the gospel

Why should we live in condemnation and shame for the sin we have committed in the past?  Our Father remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).  In the testimony of Jesus writing in the sand, He didn’t say, “Go and live in regret and condemnation of your past sin and let it haunt you for the rest of your life as a constant reminder of the fact that you’re a dirty sinner.”  He actually said (John 8:11), “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”  If I’m at my house and I am standing in the bathroom, then I walk to the kitchen, I am no longer in the bathroom, I am in the kitchen.  If I leave a life of sin, I am no longer a sinner, I am a saint.  
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8:34-36)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
If you are in Christ, the Father sees you as holy (1 Peter 1:15), stop living as if He sees you as some nasty sinner who deserves hell (Romans 6:6-7).  Walk in freedom my beloved brothers and sisters (Galatians 5:1, 25).  Live a life that’s worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1) - you have been calledsons (Galatians 4:7).  
Be free in Christ, my friends, be free.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I need to write

I love words.  I love making sentences sound and look beautiful.  I love when ideas flow to form masterpieces.  It doesn't have to be some marvelous poem, but even just a simple sentence about your day or the use of a particular adverb.  I just like words.  I like knowing the story behind the word.  I love dictionaries.  I love thesauruses.  I think every word has a story to tell.  

That being said, I need to write.  I need to get the emotions out that I've been bottling up.  I want to let the Holy Spirit teach me things through the keys my fingers pound on the keyboard.  I need to buy a new journal and get back to writing everything down.  Life doesn't seem as real when I'm not writing about it.  

Be expecting a new blog soon.  About life and love and perception.  :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What do you mean by boldness?

Yesterday I wrote a blog about serving, revival, and survival.  I made the statement, “I will pray for boldness because I am revival because I have the Holy Spirit inside of me.”  My friend Daniel showed me an article about praying for boldness. To be honest, I read the article and was just like, whatever, the believers in the early church asked the Lord for boldness in Acts 4:29, and so will I. As I was emailing Daniel back about that scripture, I decided to find the Greek word for boldness in that scripture to make sure I was defining boldness correctly.  Boldness is: 
παρρησία 
The word is parrēsia.  Parrēsia means freedom in speaking. 
When I had been praying for boldness, I was meaning audacious and confidently.  This is not exactly what the early church were praying.  If you read the entire prayer in Acts 4, they talk to the Lord about the opposition that they are receiving.  Then they ask God for boldness.  They are already confident, they just need the people to get off their backs long enough for them to preach.  
2 Corinthians 5:5-7 says, "Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are ALWAYS CONFIDENT, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT."
I don’t need to pray for boldness right now, today, at Liberty University in the United States of America.  I’m completely free to share anything I want about the gospel.  I thank Jesus for the parresia that He has given me.  I will however pray that God will renew my mind to the confidence/boldness that I already have through being in Christ
This summer in India, I will say, ”I will pray for boldness (parresia) because I am revival because I have the Holy Spirit inside of me.” In India I will not have freedom in speaking.  However, I hope and pray that situations will arise like in Acts 4. “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (verse 31)
For the article Daniel showed me, click here.
For information on the word parresia, click here.