My Dad

with hannah

One month ago today, my Dad stepped suddenly into eternity.  We feel the profound loss each day and thank God for the amazing 86 years we had with him.  Dad truly was an “ambassador for Christ.” He saw himself as God’s delegate living on mission to make the glories of God known by loving and serving those around him.

We’ve been overwhelmed with stories and accounts of people who’ve all felt great love from my Dad.  He was so quick to share a big hug or a word of wisdom.  My dad had an incredible compassion that allowed him to ask  hard questions – how is your sick child? have you found a place to live? – he had the courage to go there with people and our contact with him left us feeling supported and loved.

My dad was indeed a great man, but he would want you to know that everything that was good in him was from God. Here is one of his life verses which he repeated often.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me”

My dad surrendered his life, his time, his money, his agenda to Jesus and invited God to work and move through him in big and small ways.  All that we received from encounters with my dad was the life and love of Jesus pouring out through him….and I know he would want us to know this.

When we feel the love of Jesus through another person, I believe this love is an invitation to each of us personally to draw near to Him. How can we respond to this love?

-Maybe praying and calling out to God for the first time

-confess where we have fallen short and accept the salvation God has offered us through Jesus

-If you have walked with Him for years, surrender your heart anew to God’s glorious plans and commit to live for His Kingdom and glory

If you were fortunate enough to know my dad, when you remember him don’t just think about what a great man he was – think about the Great God whom he loved and lived for even as he shed his earthly tent to behold the face of his precious Savior!

Find out how to purchase Embraced: Becoming Who You Are in Christ at http://www.ericadean.com

A Letter Home

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Letters from far away places are so exciting!  Our family receives  emails monthly from followers of Jesus around the globe…Pakistan, Philippines, Mauritania, and Liberia.  They are from normal people who are so captured by the love of Jesus that they have to share it with others.  These missionary letters share about friendships that are forming with those seeking Truth.  They tell of opportunities to talk about faith in Jesus with co-workers and as they go about their daily activities.  Through the power of Holy Spirit, their everyday lives consist of big and small ways they live out Jesus love to those around them among different people groups.

After reading one of these letters I was struck by the fact that my life is no different – I’m called in the same way to share the love of Jesus with my “people group” in the community I live.  I started dreaming about what my letter home to friends and supporters might say.  I could share how I’m praying for courage and opportunities to spend time and show love to my seeking neighbor. I would ask for prayer for Holy Spirit power and wisdom in the time I spend with other women and in Bible studies. With joy I would celebrate the compassion and growing unity of a Sunday night group that meets in our home.   I would ask for prayer for wisdom in how to invest my time in the coming season.

It’s quite an epiphany to think through the activities of our lives through the grid of God’s Kingdom purposes.  Even mundane activities can bristle with eternal purposes. It’s  a fascinating and inspiring thought that God wants to use every believer to bring His glorious Kingdom on earth….these God adventures are not reserved for a noble few in far away places….we are all God’s Missionaries…What would your letter home say?

Matthew 5:16 “…let your good deeds shine out for all to see,                                                so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Find out how to purchase Embraced: Becoming Who You Are in Christ at http://www.ericadean.com

Power Source

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of playing with the worship band at Reality Church in Ventura. I woke up at 5:30 AM and I arrived with my other sleepy bandmates to the dark cold sanctuary to start rehearsal at 6:30 AM. Now I’m pretty excited about the technology I use. I run the keyboard through my Mac computer using Mainstage software. I have an orchestra of sounds at my fingertips and can manipulate them to sound as if they were in a great European cathedral or an intimate room. It’s a bit complicated to set up with several cables running through an audio interface to the sound system and there are often little glitches. This Sunday I was on it and had everything ready to go on time. One problem though – there was no sound….nada!  Trying not to panic I systematically went through the different elements that can often cause problems-Computer check, cables check, then it finally dawned on me. The kind person who had set up my keyboard had not plugged it in. In fact the power cord was nowhere in sight. I laughed as I foraged around back in the green room to find my treasured power cord. And then it hit me. I can have the coolest technology and spectrum of sounds available but without power they are worthless.

Isn’t this just like our lives? We can show up fully equipped and gifted for the tasks God has for each of us. But if we are not plugged into our power source, the Holy Spirit,  they lose their ability to speak in an eternal way. However when plugged in to the electricity of Holy Spirit He can transform mere technology into the glorious sounds of worship and praise. As we seek to abide and remain in Him may God burst forth glorious fruit and praise in each of our lives today.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭4‬ NLT)

http://faithbarista/category/belovedbrews-linkup –

Did Martha Ever Get it?

The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 8 has captured our hearts with its clear message. Jesus is at the home of the 2 sisters and Martha is overwhelmed with all the preparations and more than a little annoyed that her sister, Mary isn’t helping. She comes to Jesus and moans, “Don’t you care?” Jesus response is actually that He isn’t that concerned about fancy meals and perfect preparations but that Mary has chosen what is better by just sitting at His feet, listening and worshipping.

Luke 10:41-42 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

A short time later, Jesus worked an amazing miracle when Mary and Martha’s brother was raised from the dead. A great dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Mary and Martha would be hosting it again and had another chance to get it right. What we read about Martha made me wonder if she did.

John 12:2 “A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.”

Lazarus was eating and reclining with Jesus. Mary was pouring out her most precious possession in an extravagant act of worship…and Martha?? All scripture says is, “MARTHA SERVED.” Oh no! Was she ever able to grasp Jesus’ message to put down her pots and pans and just enjoy His presence? “Martha, Martha” indeed!

Do you think Martha ever got it?  It makes me ask myself, “What clear messages have I heard from Jesus that I’m ignoring today?” How can we all grow to be ever more attentive to the sweet presence of Jesus?

I wrote this song about Mary’s extravagant worship of Jesus! Enjoy!

The Last Patient

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                  Pull up a seat, grab a hot beverage and enjoy this story                                 from our recent trip to Southeast Asia!

The Last Patient

Shifa’ was the last patient before the doctors took a break for lunch. Before the midday break on a very warm day in this coastal fishing village, more than 200 hundred patients had received health counseling, been prayed with, and been cared for in our medical clinic. As the team was leaving for a break, Shifa’ came to Royal, a physician and close friend who has been leading our clinics for more than a decade, with a complaint of severe back pain and a few other ailments. After Royal, in his compassionate manner prayerfully attended to her needs, he prayed with her after asking for any other concerns she might have.Though Shifa’ was silent about her hidden ailment, the elderly women sitting closely around her opened up to me about Shifa’ after all others had left to eat.

Slowly, at first, as they watched my reaction, then with growing energy as they realized I did not disregard their stories, these women whose ages were clear through the deep lines in their animated faces told me story upon story of Shifa’s spirit possession. From the age of twelve, Shifa’ has been oppressed for seventeen years by a spirit that overtakes her body and transforms her into a sea creature. A bit shamed at first by these attacks, Shifa’ found comfort in sharing about the fear she felt after each event. The comfort faded, though, when the women spoke of how they fought the possession through incantations and Qur’anic mantras which seemed to only temporarily work. To these women whose concern for Shifa’ moved me, and to Shifa’ whose pain I could not begin to understand, I began to tell a new story. Sitting a few yards from the beach in this fishing village, I told them of Jesus falling asleep in a boat and as the boat entered a storm Jesus looked into the gale and with one word brought immediate calm, abrupt peace. This same Jesus then got out of the boat and looked in the eyes of a man horribly possessed by more spirits than the afflicted man could easily count. Again, with a word from Jesus, these spirits were forcibly removed from the man and thrown into a herd of pigs (at this these women laughed with appreciation).  To these women I said, this Jesus is the only one who has true and lasting power over any spirit. Their cantations may temporarily appease, but only Jesus has true, lasting power. To Shifa’ I said we would be in their village all day, and if she wanted us to share more about Jesus and to pray with her, to go find her husband and bring him with her to us and we would pray together.

Within minutes our team, with the doctors and the outstanding short-term team from BIOLA, returned from lunch and we were soon overwhelmed by the largest crowd we have ever loved on in one day. By the power and mercy of God we cared for over 700 beautiful people, many having suffered years with severe and painful conditions. Through the commotion and seeming chaos of the mass of people I saw Shifa’ and her husband, Sirabi, hovering in and out of the crowd, waiting for an opening, a pause. As the tropical sun was setting, taking with it the heat of the afternoon, the final patients began to trickle out. In these final moments of calm, Shifa’ brought her husband to Royal to have his back pain checked. As with Shifa’, Royal gently asked Sirabi repeatedly if there were any other concerns that he wanted to share. His eyes said yes, but his head shook no. Sitting next to Sirabi, I shared with him what Shifa’ heard earlier about Jesus. I looked Sirabi in the eye and asked if we could pray for him and Shifa’ in the name of Jesus for them. With a physical response that revealed intense relief, Sirabi and Shifa’ leaned in close for prayer. I turned to Ann, our seventy-year old team member who loves Jesus more than retirement, and asked her to pray over, and with, Shifa’. Ann, with her kind hands, softly held the strong, young hands of Shifa’ and brought the beauty and power of Jesus upon Shifa’ through prayer. Tears filled the eyes of Shifa’ and Sirabi as they sought the power and healing of Jesus through prayer. After prayer, we shared that true healing comes through surrender and becoming a follower of Jesus and that we would love to be a part of telling them more what it means to follow Jesus. The night was upon us and Shifa’ had her four young children at her feet needing her full attention so the time of prayer ended.A few weeks have passed.

Then, yesterday a team member returned to this village for follow-up training with mothers on healthy family habits and there were Shifa’ and Sirabi. With excitement this young couple sought out Our team member to tell her Sirabi had been standing for hours along the edge of the highway, just waiting and hoping we would pass by! With joy they now saw our team member and wanted to know when we both could return to talk with them.

This is our request for you, pray for Sirabi and Shifa’. Pray as we meet they will seek Jesus with their whole heart and will be healed

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God’s love for Southeast Asia

GUS_8901 We just got back from a recent ministry trip and I have to share with you how God is showering His love on the beautiful people of Southeast Asia. We got to join up with a team of locals and expatriates who live and serve this community through medical clinics, student services, livelihood projects, literacy and children’s programs and much more.

My husband and I had the privilege of helping out with 4 days of medical clinics in rural villages where healthcare is sparse. Many people were given medical care and life-saving medicine for the first time.  In just 4 days over two thousand people were seen in the medical, dental and eye clinics. It was truly humbling to get to pray for each patient – for healing and truth to fill these precious Muslim and B’laan people – all in the name of Isa al Masih, Jesus our Messiah. We rejoice that the love of our Savior was poured out through His servants and pray for much fruit in the lives of all who were blessed.

Now that I’m home and mostly recovered from jet lag and multiple mosquito bites​, I find myself asking some questions. How can I be God’s instrument of love in my local community? How do you share the love of Jesus with those around you?

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.1 John 3:18 

This song was written after witnessing the love of God in Southeast Asia. Enjoy!

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Help Me Believe

I must admit that for me, I struggle to live each moment resting in God’s embrace. Maybe you also know this truth in your head and yet don’t feel it deep down in your gut! God is so gracious to us in our weakness. He says that all we need is the smallest seed of faith, and He will take it and grow it into something vibrant and fruitful. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit that God pours into us as His children. A wonderful conversation in the book of Mark illustrates this beautifully.

A man brings his young, demon-possessed son to be healed by Jesus. This poor father has watched in horror as the demon has thrown his child into the fire and harmed him repeatedly. Desperate and yet hopeful the father brings his son to the healer, Jesus. He says:

“….if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)

I love the raw honesty of the father. He had faith that Jesus could save his son, but it was a small and weak faith. He asked Jesus to give him the faith to believe He could heal. Jesus honored his request and the boy was delivered from his suffering. This resonates personally with me because when faced with the truth of who I am in Jesus, I have to cry out, “Help me believe!” I want to live every moment confidently in who Jesus has made me. I’m so thankful God gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13).

Find out how to purchase Embraced: Becoming Who You Are in Christ at http://www.ericadean.com