Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 21- Journey to Easter

Sunday, March 31 - Prayer of the Redeemed (EASTER)
He is Risen! Jesus, you conquered the grave! I am redeemed; you have restored my relationship with God. Thank you that I can celebrate this wonderful news. Thank you for your sacrifice, and your gift of salvation. Thank you for breaking the power of sin in my life. (Rom. 6:10) Help me to walk in freedom, confident that your Spirit is living through me. May my life bring glory to you.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 20- Journey to Easter

Saturday, March 30 - Prayer for the Church to Shine Brightly
Father, will you move mightily today through the hundreds of volunteers serving our city at the Easter Egg Hunts. Use our hands, conversations, and every interaction to take people a little closer to knowing You. May our city see that you are a God of Love and that Your Church are a people of love and compassion. May “our good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise our Heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 19- Journey to Easter

Friday, March 29 - Prayer for Thanks  (GOOD FRIDAY)
Jesus, today I pause to say thanks. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for dying for me. You are worthy of my life today Jesus!!  I surrender it all to you. I pray that this Sunday you would bring people to a crisis of decision where they must decide what they believe about you and the Cross. Please use every component from the worship music, BayKids, First Impressions, drama, and the message to help people see you as never before. Open people’s eyes to their need for salvation and need for you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 18- Journey to Easter

Thursday, March 28 - Prayer of a Servant
Thank you Jesus for the example you set before me. Thank you for modeling servanthood and showing me how to love and serve others. Help me to love others the way you have loved me. (John 13:34) Give me compassion for the broken and love for the lost. Give me a heart to see others the way you do.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 17- Journey to Easter

Wednesday, March 27 - Prayer for Conviction
Lord, I pray that South Bay Church would be a welcoming place for all those that are lost. I pray for the families who walk through our doors; that every generation would be convicted with a longing for wisdom. I pray for this upcoming Easter Sunday. Speak to each individual directly and let the message strike their hearts with a desire to learn about you more.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 16- Journey to Easter

Tuesday, March 26 - Prayer for Our Senior Pastor
Lord, I pray that you would speak to Pastor Andy as He prepares the Easter message. Please anoint Him with your words, lead his thoughts and give him your insights. Help him speak this Sunday not with wise and persuasive words but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. Strengthen his body and he preaches. Please place your hand upon Stacie, Caedmon and Sammy, bless and protect his family throughout this important week.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 15- Journey to Easter

Monday, March 25 - Prayer for those Lost and in Doubt
Lord, I pray for those who lost their way and Doubt you. I pray they find their purpose in life.... the life you created them to have. Lord speak your wisdom into their heart, let them feel and understand your Love.
            You are who you are for a reason. You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman and man. You look like you look for a reason. Our God made no mistake. He knit you together within the womb, You’re just what he wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones he chose, and no matter how you may feel, They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind, and they bear the Master seal.
Know, that trauma you faced was not easy. And God wept that it hurt you so; But it was allowed to shape your heart so that into his likeness you’d grow.
You are who you are for a reason, You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved, Because there is a God!
                                                                                            Poem By Russell Kelfer

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 14- Journey to Easter

Sunday, March 24 - Prayer for Friends and Family
God we pray for those who are close to us who do not know you yet. We ask that you would present opportunities for us to love them and share the hope we have in you. Let our hearts be aligned with yours in how act and speak to our friends and family. Would we be sensitive to you Holy Spirit, in how you prompt us and ask us to step forward in boldness. We pray for opportunities towards those close to us and for them to respond to an invitation to an Easter service. We pray for more opportunities for them to understand grace and receive it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 13- Journey to Easter

Saturday, March 23 - Prayer for all our Volunteers
Lord, we pray for the leadership that you have Blessed our Church with, especially those that dedicate time to do whatever it takes to reach those far from God. We pray that you would help them find in their hearts to connect with all of our guest that come through our doors searching for a relationship with you. We ask that you help encourage people that are not already serving you, to join us in serving and join us in being urgent about our mission in reaching those far from you.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 12- Journey to Easter

Friday, March 22 - Prayer for Favor
Psalm 67:1, “God, show us your favor. Bless us. May you smile on us with your favor.” We are dependant upon your favor over our lives and our church. Open doors that only you can open, change lives, give an extra measure of your presence upon our church. Move in such a way that it is evident your Hand is upon us. We are desperate for you to move. Because you show your favor- “May the nations be glad and sing with joy.” Psalm 67:4

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 11- Journey to Easter

Thursday, March 21 - Prayer for Eyes to See!
In your word Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17. We ask that you would open the eyes of our pastoral team, staff and leaders to see opportunities all around. Pray that we would see with spiritual eyes like never before!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 10- Journey to Easter

Wednesday, March 20 - Prayer for Our Staff Pastors
Lord, I ask that you would bless our staff pastors- Filipe, Renan, Archie and David. I ask that you would work in their homes to give unity and healthy relationships to their families. GIve your favor and provision over each of their lives. I ask that you would help them each to grow in their faith and leadership. Please strengthen them leading up to Easter and give their families extra grace during these full weeks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 9- Journey to Easter

Tuesday, March 19 - Prayer God to Open Future Doors for Expansion
Lord, we are amazed at all that you have done through South Bay! We know are the Great Provider. Your word says in Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply my every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We pray that you would miraculously provide and open doors for South Bay’s future expansion, whether it be the purchase of the North San Jose Campus or additional campuses, we boldly pray that you would provide and open doors.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A box of tomatoes

Today Caedmon made such a tremendous mess that it nearly brought me to tears.

(Fortunately the mess was accidental as opposed to intentional, so we were able to focus solely on the mess instead of the mess plus the wrath of Mommy.)

Nevertheless, I was completely overwhelmed. A pan of powdery substance had fallen in our downstairs closet which is the home of all of our dumbbells, other workout paraphernalia, and quite a few oversized toys that won't fit on a shelf. The clean up would require every item to be removed from the closet, vacuumed, wiped down, and then returned. It was more than I was hoping to take on before homeschool ever began this morning!

As I sat there silently working (on the verge of tears, mind you) a story came to mind that I heard from Bill Hybels. He said that when he was growing up, his dad owned a fresh produce business and Bill worked for him. One hot summer day, an entire truck full tomatoes went bad. Rotten. Undeliverable to anyone. Bill's dad assigned him the job of getting rid of the tomatoes.

Bill was livid! He said to his dad, "That will take forever! How in the world am I going to get all those tomatoes off the truck?!"

His dad replied, "One box at a time."

And he did. He finished the insurmountable task one box at a time.

I think of that story often when there's a job that seems too big for me. Our minds have a way of making tasks seem larger than life so we might as well just give up before we even start. We think, "I have to buy that present, and deal with that medical bill, and take that by the post office, and finish my taxes, and send those emails, and on and on we go..." And it's too much. So I think I'd rather drape myself over the side of the couch and moan than attack that list. Oh, you've been there too?

Are you carrying a load that seems too heavy for you? Could it be that you're trying to transport too much at once? After all, that task of yours (& mine!) can get done by simply moving one box of tomatoes at a time.

And, FYI, that pan full of powdery stuff now has a new home. Out of the reach of children!

Day 8- Journey to Easter

Monday, March 18 - Prayer for God to reach Silicon Valley
Lord, help us to reach our coworkers within our sphere of influence. Give us boldness and faith to live out the calling that you have given us. Provide divine opportunities for us to share our faith and invite our friends to South Bay. Tonight is also the “Ask a VC” night at South Bay Church. We pray that God will bring people into the doors of South Bay that would not ordinarily come to church, and that your spirit would touch them powerfully.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 7- Journey to Easter

Sunday, March 17 - Prayer for Life Groups
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you.  Thank you you chose us to grow in your Spirit, connect in friendships, and serve our community together.  We thank you through our life groups, many lives will be transformed by you and friendship will be built that last for a life time.  We thank you that in our circle of life groups friends, we will be there for each other in good times and bad.  We will cry with each other as well as laugh with each other.  We thank you that you have given us friendship and community that we can count on when we are in needs and when we are in celebration.  We pray for the existing life groups in this semester that you will bless each and every single friendship.  We pray that as we launch the Easter life groups that many more friendships will be formed and both hosts and members will be touched by your Spirit and their lives will be forever changed as they fellowship and study your words.  Thank you for your blessings. In the name of Jesus.  Amen

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 6- Journey to Easter

Saturday, March 16 - Prayer for Workers  (DOORHANGERS DAY)
Lord, we ask that you would send out laborers into your harvest fields. I ask that you would stir in the hearts of the people of South Bay and raise up new leaders and new servants for you. I ask that you would use the crew that is delivering the doorhangers today to draw many people to yourself. Please help many people take the step to attend South Bay through these door hangers, all of the mailers and personal invitations that will be made for Easter.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 5- Journey to Easter

Friday, March 15 - Prayer for Healer
Lord, we believe that you are a healer. We pray right now that you would bring healing to the sick in our church. We specifically as a church pray for Jennifer Garcia that you would perform a miracle and heal her body from cancer. Give her strength through the effects of Chemo-Therapy and restore her body back to health. Pray that God would give super-natural strength to her husband Mike and peace to her precious daughters- Mikalee, Kelanie, and Kaleya.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ME- in 5 sentences or less

Andy & I were so honored to be ask to speak for part of the SEND Conference in July. It's going to be an awesome event for a lot of leaders who are passionate about seeing the love Jesus made known throughout North America. Andy & I are NOT main-stage speakers. No, no, no. Not nearly that important. But! We are excited just to get to be there and do a breakout session.

Today they asked for my bio.


How would you sum up the totality of who you are in just a few sentences? What gives the best glimpse of your life? Your history? Your education? Your job-title?

Here's what I came up with. Yes, I'm serious. I actually sent this in to be printed.

Stacie and her husband, Andy, moved cross-country to San Jose, CA in August '08 to start South Bay Church. They have two boys, Caedmon (6) and Sammy (4). She spends most days in yoga pants cleaning up peanut butter smears and spilt milk. She homeschools when they get around to it and thinks the day has been an enormous success if she can work out, shower, read her Bible, and write a blog post all in one day. She is an expert at building LEGO creations, a champion at UNO, and has been known to bust a move in a spontaneous dance party in the living room.

I thought that captured my life pretty well. I hope they like it (and will still let me speak)!

Day 4- Journey to Easter

Thursday, March 14 - Prayer for Broken Relationships and Hurting Families
Lord, we ask that you would move in homes that are broken in our church and in our community. We pray that today you would convict men to step up and assume greater levels of responsibility for their families. We pray that you would call woman to respect and honor of their husbands. We pray that you would bring forgiveness and reconciliation and healed families today. Do miracles and prompt hearts in supernatural ways we pray.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 3- Journey to Easter

Wednesday, March 13 - Prayer for the Lost & Broken
Lord, I pray that the lost and broken people that will be walking through the doors of South Bay Church will find hope and love. Your word says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Lamentations 3:22) May the dilemma that someone is facing not consume them, but they may find strength, hope, and love in you to overcome it victoriously.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Can I just get a moment?

The cool night air was moving in as I watched Sammy playing with 30 other kids at Park Valencia on Santana Row. I pulled my jacket tight around me as I leaned back in my chair and grinned. I was a spectator from the sidelines, taking in the magic of the moment.

Children who had met five minutes prior were now the best of friends as they threw a football and lined up for competitive races. An older boy took Sammy under his wing to make sure that Sammy got a turn with the football. Sammy was running and jumping and laughing with pure delight.

I could have drank in the goodness of that scene for an hour. But football boy had to leave and our food arrived, so the moment was cut short. It was just a moment, but it was mine.

I must have said to Andy half a dozen times, "This was such a good idea. Thank you for bringing us here tonight." I hadn't even realized how much my heart was thirsty for it.

I don't know about you, but I feel like one week steamrolls into the next around here. I assume I'll be able to finish this weekend all the things on my to-do list that I didn't get to this week, but lo and behold, it's Sunday night and here comes the next week with the same to-do list. Only several more things have been added. The weight of what I didn't get done drains the life out of me.

More days than I'd like to admit are spent feeling guilty and defeated by everything I didn't get accomplished. Instead of living with thankfulness and joy, failures are magnified and pulled into focus. Why do we do that to ourselves? We tend to live our lives with our heads down and hand to the plow, working so hard for the harvest that we miss the magic of the moment.

But sometimes, we just need to stop.

To look up.

To notice, or find, or create a moment of beauty at which we can marvel.

Like Andy's day off a couple of weeks ago when he spontaneously suggested, "Let's go to Monterey for the day."

Yes. Let's.

Let's share a picnic on a grassy field with the sunshine beating on our legs. Let's eat frozen yogurt with our kids and laugh at the tremendous mess they are capable of making. Let's lay on our tummies and watch our boys play in the sand against a backdrop of the Pacific. Let's drink in the goodness of being a family all over again.

We swept the debris from the week away from a moment and created a sacred space.

You may not get to take a week's vacation any time soon. You may even struggle to find a full day to relax. But you can take a moment.

Go for a walk with your spouse. Play UNO with your child. Listen to your favorite song at full volume with all the windows rolled down.

What moment can you claim as your own today?

Day 2- Journey to Easter

Tuesday, March 12 - Prayer for Focus
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) Lord, I pray that your message will shine through, despite the commercialization of Easter. Let the HUNT! be a gateway for people who are hesitant to find the courage to walk through your doors. Fill each individual heart with a longing to know you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A 21 Day Prayer Journey to Easter

This weekend at South Bay Church, we encouraged our whole church to join in a 21 Day Prayer Journey leading up to Easter Sunday. The South Bay staff put together a booklet that was available for people to take home with a sample prayer for each day.

I thought it would be great to include our kids in this journey as well! So this morning at breakfast, I brought the prayer guide to the table and quickly read today's prayer to myself. It says:

Monday, March 11 - Prayer for God to Quench our Thirst:
Jesus, you said, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!” (John 7:37), so today I acknowledge that you are my thirst-quencher.  Help me to hunger and thirst for you more than anything else in my life.  Be my fountain of life.  Be my fulfillment.  Be my strength.  Fill my life with so much of you, that your Presence will overflow out of me touching the lives of everyone I interact with today!

Then I asked the boys if they ever remember a time that they were really thirsty. We talked about how we drink water when we get really thirsty. Then I said, "Did you know that sometimes our hearts get thirsty too? Sometimes we feel like we need more hugs or more kisses or more time with Mom & Dad. That shows that our heart is feeling a little thirsty."

At this point they were fully engaged and alert. Inquisitive eyes on me with a look that said, "Tell us more, Mom! We are right here with you."

Just kidding. Sammy kept asking if he could be all done and Caedmon was twirling 'round and 'round in his chair. Nevertheless, I pressed on.

I said, "Well, the Bible tells us that the ultimate way to quench our thirsty heart is by having Jesus fill up our hearts. The Bible says that He can give us Living Water that satisfies our thirst."

Then I read the prayer phrase by phrase and had them repeat each phrase after me.

I'm pretty confident they understood a whooping 10% of the whole interaction, but, hey, that's better than not having the conversation at all. Layer by layer, I tell ya. Laying a firm foundation!

I want to encourage you to join us in this 21 Day Prayer Journey. Whether you are a part of South Bay Church or not, I believe this journey will help us prepare our hearts for a fresh encounter with God this Easter! I will post the sample prayer of the day here on my blog in case you weren't able to get one of the guides.

Any joiners?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

This morning as I was making breakfast, Sammy probably asked me 12 times if he could help. It's not uncommon for Sammy to want to help and he does so regularly, but this time it felt more like "I-just-need-to-be-close-to-you-right-now-Mommy". So he stirred the oatmeal on the stove and sprinkled it with cinnamon.

I noticed while we were eating that he was very quiet. That is completely out of character for Sammy, especially at the table. He is forever getting "talked to" for his silly antics and loud chatter that occupies his meal times, as opposed to actually eating. But not this morning. This morning he just ate his oatmeal without saying a word while Caedmon and I chatted about the day.

Finally it dawned on me that something wasn't right.

I said, "Sammy, are you okay?"

blank stare into his bowl of oatmeal

"Sammy, are you feeling sick?

shakes head "no"

"Are you sad?"

shakes head "no"

"Is there something that you need Mommy to do for you?"

begins to shake his head "no", but then nods "yes"

"What can Mommy do for you?"

crosses his arms

"A hug? Do you need a hug?"

solemn face. big nod.

He climbed over in my lap, put his head on my shoulder, and there we sat for the next 10 minutes. Not a word was said. Just gently swaying back and forth, filling up a heart that must have leaked all out. After about 10 minutes or so, he slid back into his chair and finished the rest of his breakfast. And he's been back to "normal" ever since.

After breakfast the boys went off to play and I told Andy what had happened. He said, "That's strange. Sammy did the same thing to me this morning. Sat in my lap with his head on my shoulder for at least 10 minutes."

For any of you who know Sammy, you know he is not typically a cuddler. Your'e lucky to get a high five as he sprints by, and you practically have to tackle him to get a hug. He is almost always silly, playful, and on the move. So, for him to spend 20+ minutes of his morning in his mommy & daddy's arms revealed that something was going on his heart.

God used this moment with Sammy to remind me of how very important a parent's role is in listening to his/her child's heart. It would have been so easy to miss the subtle clues that Sammy was giving. I could have been (as I am many mornings) rushing around to clean up the breakfast dishes or checking email on my phone. I thanked God that He gave me eyes to catch this one, and it left me wondering how many others I have missed in the past.

Whether they're toddlers or teenagers, our kids often have a hard time expressing (or even understanding!) what's going on in their hearts. We do them a great service when we are attentive, ask questions, and take the time to show that we deeply care.

Take a moment to think about each of your children...What clues are they trying to pass you? What hidden message is behind their words? What behavior are they showing that is really an outward manifestation of something taking place deep below the surface?

It is so easy to rush through each day, from the first ring of the alarm clock to bedtime routine, and never truly engage the heart. God reminded me this morning to slow down. Prioritize the heart. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Work in progress

I'm really glad God doesn't judge me by:

  1. the cleanliness of my stovetop
  2. how often I bathe my children
  3. how many unanswered emails are in my inbox
  4. my gardening skills
  5. the organization of my garage
How about you? Somebody humor me and let me know some area of your life that you are thankful is NOT the standard for receiving God's love.

Grace for me. Grace for you. Let's pass it around this week.