God is so good when life is hard.
Our deadline to put our house on the market Oct. 1st was not accomplished, but great things have happened because of it. In order for our house to stand out against so many other houses on the market at this time, we discovered that not only do we have to have our house look great, but it has to be practically empty! This means we have to take down all the tacky wall paper that we hated when we moved in, sand it, prime it, and paint it. We also have to pack up most of our belongings. So my parents decided to pull Mallory and I out of school for our fall break to help paint and pack. On my mom's birthday, one of the presents that she received was the prayer room live for one year. So while we have been peeling wall paper, preparing the backing to come off, pulling the backing off, washing the walls, priming the walls, and painting them, we have been listening to the prayer room. The cool thing about it is that we are drawn in to the music and intercession while we are working and now have a greater passion and burning desire to be there. We are so excited that we can barely contain ourselves. Even though we will miss all of our family, church friends, school friends, and dance friends, we know that God has great and amazing plans for us. "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) Mallory and I are excitedly preparing for our Christmas show even though we know it will be our last show with PHWD. We also found out that Intro to IHOP will not start on January 9th as we had expected but on January 12th. That is good for us because it gives us extra time here at home before we move. During the first week in January, we will be packing up the final items while going to our last FaceDown at RiverStone, our last youth on Sunday, and our last Sunday morning service. It will be sad, but it will be exciting when we get there. You can be sure that I will post pictures on the blog to show you our trip and our new house!
Anyway, I just got back two weeks ago from my high school retreat for my church. God showed up in amazing ways. Christian, a worship leader from IHOP-Atlanta, led worship with his team. God used them mightily that weekend. We had powerful times of worship and intercession. Pastor Steve Hambrick, the pastor of our new church plant, spoke for us that weekend. On Friday night, he talked about us being called by God as world changers. He said that God wants us to not only wake up to do what he wants us to do but rise up. We need to have endurance for what he wants us to do and not give up. We have to be aware of parasitic sin. We may be able to deal with sin for a moment but it will try to come back and we must be aware and on guard against it. We also need to be aware of the extra-spiritual fat, the things that are not necessarily bad but are hindering you from doing your best for God. We need to look at what takes up most of our time, thoughts, and money. The way to get rid of spiritual gluttony is when you get something, you give it away and then go back for more.
On Saturday night we had a powerful worship and intercession time. At one point during the night, Christian got off stage and started to pray for people that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit and that we would begin to operate in the Holy Spirit. People began to dance like David danced, sing songs to Jesus out of the depth of their hearts, prophecy, become drunk in the Holy Spirit, and pray in tongues. While this may have been new to some people, I was used to it from exposure I have had from Mountain of Worship conferences and other conferences. I was very excited and ran to find Kathy Ryan. I had gone to ATC (Awakening Teen Conference- a 2 week conference at IHOP KC) over the summer with her and Brooks Tompkins, and we had prayed that these very things would happen to our youth group and that God would move mightily. When I found her, we both grinned huge smiles. We both knew that God was answering our prayer and we couldn't be more excited. About an hour and a half into that, we began to pray that the wind of the Holy Spirit would blow into our youth group and set us ablaze with a greater hunger and desire to know him more. As Christian was prophesying that God's wind would blow over us, a door to the right of the stage blew open with such force it startled me even though I was on the opposite side of the room and through the loud music. (Youth music is always loud-the louder the better!) Christian ran off the stage to Mason Tanner who was standing by the door and asked him if he opened the door. Mason said that he hadn't done it but rather the wind had. Coincidence? I think not! Christian, then very excited, began to prophecy not that the wind of God WOULD blow over us, but that it WAS blowing over us. Needless to say, it was a very powerful time. Pastor Steve Hambrick told us that God wants to do something IN us so that he can move THROUGH us. He said that we can never stand still in our walk with God. We are either moving away or towards him. Continuing to move forward means that we must continually be giving our life away for the things of the kingdom. Everyday, God wants to draw us in, love us, and send us out to love his children. After he spoke we went back into ministry time. We prayed for three things: to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and operate in them, and for healing either emotional or physical. We worshiped and prayed until well into the night. I was so energized by what had happened that night in our youth group that I could not go to sleep until at least 3:30 in the morning!
Well this one has been a long one but I hope it has been good. I am planning to update the blog every Sunday, so you can check Monday morning and a new post should be there from me. My family members may update it during other times of the week as well. Please pray that God would continue to send his peace to us about our house selling. Also that he would continue to stretch us as we prepare to be continuously soaking in the atmosphere of night and day intercession and worship. We love you and can't wait to see you during our weeks!
Ashton (for the Prices)