This first blog entry is a bit long. I apologize for that. But, there are those who wish to follow this journey into the power of our yes and do not yet know what brought us to this place. I wish to allow all who love us in on the beginning.
For those who have asked us and feel invited to help support us, the how-to’s are at the end.
I hope our story inspires you to take an adventure of your own. Father God enjoys inviting you to things and then making it happen!
We have embarked on quite a journey with the Lord very much unlike anything we have ever done before. And while it is somewhat new to us, it is not new to God’s way of doing things. It involves fulfilling the desires of the heart and it involves a leap of faith.
Rick and I have long pursued the “more” we knew that God has for His people, and for us. We have not been satisfied with God’s people rendered powerless and bound under the lies and attacks of the enemy when it is they who possess the power of God within. We knew that the same power available to Jesus, who is our example, and to the disciples, Paul and all the believers in the early church is meant for God’s children to experience today. As Romans 2 says, it is the goodness of God that draws men to repentance. We are called to destroy the works of the enemy and that requires an understanding of our identity as dear children of Almighty God, His covenant promises are true and that He brings to bear the power to back it up. Our desire in this played a major role in our willingness to be involved in the start of Faith Center 10+years ago.
We had opportunity to see a glimpse of this power in operation 5 years ago when we visited Bethel Church in Redding, CA. We saw first hand the sick made well, shattered hearts put back together and relationships restored in miraculous ways. Not in some sensational, manipulative service but, in simple faith and expectancy in the power and goodness of God, an atmosphere that honors His Presence both in others and in worship. A seed was planted. A dream was born to actively participate in bringing about the kingdoms of this world becoming the Kingdom of our God.
In October of 2012, we attended a prophetic conference at a church called The Warehouse in Franklin TN. Bill Johnson, senior leader of Bethel, was a major speaker. There were worship sets before each session. During one of those sets, I was thinking about how much of my life had already passed and how little progress I felt I had made toward my dream to participate in “the more” just described. In my mind’s eye, I saw a hot air balloon. In the basket of the balloon was our speaker, Bill, and it was rising. There were streamers hanging down from the corners of the balloon and I was grasping for them. I SO wanted to be a part of the revival movement Bill and Bethel represented to me. It was slipping from my hands. I felt left behind and excluded from the great plan I knew God had for this time in history. After that session was ended, we broke for lunch. As we exited the building to go to our car, I noticed a group of people looking over the building behind me. We joined them. There, in this industrial park in Franklin, Tennessee, at that very moment, was a single hot air balloon. It was descending to land in a small grassy area behind the church. Here God was telling me I am not left behind. Not only that, I don’t have to settle for grasping for dangling streamers but, He will land the balloon for me to get in! I had hope.
The following summer, Daddy God set up for me to learn what it is to sit before Him and just listen. I began to hear Him say some pretty incredible things over me, the kind of things a proud Papa says over his child. Hope was rising. Then in January of this year, Jesus began to ask me at random times and in random places, “Do you trust me?” It was a whisper. I knew the question itself was not random. I pondered my hesitancy to answer. It was as if I knew something was afoot. My answer would set something in action.
He began to speak to me-through sermons, books, prophetic words, conversations with Him and with others-about dreams I had put on a back burner. At the same time, He was calling me to rest. He was teaching me what rest in the midst of activity looks like. There are many things in ministry that are fine to do. They are not bad and He will go with us in those things. But doing something because it is for Him or we because we feel we should is quite different than doing things because He has invited us to do them. I compare it to the difference between walking through quicksand and walking on water. Some things are just harder to do than they should be. I have come to understand that when God extends an invitation, there is an incredible grace that comes to enable you to do it and carries you through it. Rest in the midst of activity is engaging in what He’s asked you to. Nothing more, nothing less. There is power and there is peace in the “yes”. I hope at this point you are asking yourself, “What has God INVITED me to?” Well, ask Him! Search your heart. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of Kings to search it out.”
There used to be things I would dream about but, it seemed it was never the time or other’s dreams, or other priorities would take precedence. Like a loving father, He was telling me it is ok for me to have a dream of my own. He places dreams in our hearts that He dreamt for us first. There was a dream I had pushed back as being not for now. It began bubbling to the surface: to go on a missions trip. My heart always beat a little faster and a light would come to my eye when I would hear people talk about going on missions trips. Something about rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty in making a real, tangible, right-now difference for someone while expressing the love of Jesus tugged at my heart. I was being invited to go…
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s mind plans his way, but he Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
I had already been told that my contract at work would not be renewed for the coming fall. The expense of a missions trip did not make sense. I felt Him prodding, “I’ve got this. Go! Follow your dream!” So, I took a step. I signed up for a trip and paid my deposit knowing that outside of overtime or extra freelance work, I could not afford to go. Then Daddy God began to show up in very tangible ways. People started giving for my trip even before I began asking. I had planned on a substantial overtime job to pay a good portion of what was left but it fell through. “Put your wallet away. I’ve got this,” He said. And He did. Even giving me back my deposit! Trust! People who knew my trip total was paid continued to give along with comments like, “You need spending money, right?” “You have incidental expenses, right?” Missions trip: paid in full! I had opportunity to play with orphans, teach them about the extravagant love of THE Father, feed the homeless and …realize it is not enough. No amount of resources, no amount of physical labor, opportunity or time is enough to alleviate the suffering in a permanent way. Things need to be shifted in the spirit. A Spirit of Sonship to the Father needed to displace an orphan spirit and the Spirit of Love Himself is needed to heal the ravages of civil war and fear on a nation and allow it to fulfill its God-given destiny. Is this what it means to disciple a nation? Is this an example of where the “more” of God we’ve been looking for can be applied?
Then Daddy God began to ask, “What other dream do you have? What do you and Rick desire that is SO big you were afraid to put your finger to it? You’ve pushed it back so far and so deep and you won’t allow yourself to look at it? Your mission trip was a small thing for me. What is your desire?” Again, through dialog with Him, teachings heard, prophetic words, and soul searching it began to bubble to the surface. Don’t toy with me, God. I don’t think I could stand the disappointment if this isn’t real. Could it be?! But God, I don’t see how! But God, You’ll have to tell Rick! But God, but, but, but…And there it was. Before me, in my mind’s eye, I saw an invitation. It was a big one, really nice as if for an extravagant, expensive event. The kind that comes with an RSVP. I felt Him say that applying for entrance to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry was checking off the “yes” on the RSVP so He could prepare a place for us at the table. When we arrived home that day, there was a check in the mailbox in the amount of registration for both of our applications. It was as if He was saying, “Postage paid”. He was smiling as we mulled over saying “yes” to this extravagant invitation.
Oh how we’ve longed to learn HOW to release the Kingdom of God in more powerful ways! To have more to give to the people He has sent and is sending to us for help. We’ve given all we know to give but always sure there is so much more available. What seemed so far off for us was now beginning to look as if it was within grasp. “The Kingdom is at hand…” and “on earth as it is in Heaven” is more than pie in the sky by and by. It is to be a reality. In going, we can learn how.
Once we said yes to His invitation, wheels began to move quickly. People who love us more than we ever imagined put in blood, sweat, tears and money to help us sort through our life, pack it up, prepare things to sell or store, and get us started on our way, wishing us well through tears of joy, pride, inspiration, hope and sadness.
We’ve left our jobs, family, friends, church and home to say yes to an incredible invitation. We are risking everything. We hang on to our Father’s encouragement in Luke 18:29-30, “And He said to them, I say to you truly, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive in return many times more in this world and, in the coming age, eternal life.” He is faithful.
He carefully laid a foundation of trust He knew Rick and I needed. He proved that His invitations are sure and a yes is all He needs to bring all that heaven has to bear on our behalf…like hitting the ignition switch on an igniter. After waiting and growing and waiting and transforming and waiting and being faithful…He brought a suddenly! Which, quite frankly, can be a bit scary. It requires work to rest and refuse to look at the waves of circumstance and impossibilities that surround. But God. That’s it. But God. What invitation is He placing before YOU? What outside of your natural ability can you say yes to? Because here’s the thing: He isn’t just doing this for us. It’s for you, too.
He has used many of you to provide for us in this journey. To you we say thank you! Some others of you have asked how you can support us or what our needs are. Pray! Pray for our strength, our mental capacity for all the reading and work, our emotional wellbeing as we forsake all that is normal and the closeness of family and friends, and please pray for our provision. We have new living expenses as well as expenses in the life we stepped away from. He promises bread for the eater and seed for the sower. We need both.
However, we only want people to do what Father God is inviting them to. We know He will bless you in your giving and supplies whatever is needed for His invitations. We hope the result is a harvest of your own dreams. Seed does bear the fruit of its own kind, after all. 🙂
IF you feel invited to support us on the journey financially, there are several options:
- PayPal: go to http://www.paypal.com, enter the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, enter the amount of your gift, select Personal Payments, Continue and then follow the prompts. (there is NO charge for money sent between individuals)
- Free Cash by Square is a free app. Compose an email to email@example.com; in the CC line type firstname.lastname@example.org; In the subject line enter the amount of your donation. You may leave a note for us in the body of the email if you like 🙂
- Donations sent directly to us: 747 Flower Ash Lane, Redding CA 96003 (We LOVE cards and letters from home!!)
- Donations can be made directly to our tuition at :
- Tax deductible donations can be made directly to our missions trips at:
https://trips.ibethel.org/ then look up our individual names
- Through our POP account at our local California bank (if your on-line banking supports it)
- Through Faith Center of Paducah
We’ll be making a MUCH shorter update soon of what it felt like crossing the country and what God said to us.
We love you guys!! And we are very blessed that you all are going along on this adventure with us! God Bless!
Rick and Vickie