Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prayer Prompts

It started with one short conversation many years ago with my dear sister-in-law, Joyce.

Driving with her in Denver, she shared that she always prays when she sees and hears an ambulance. At least that's what I remember; I'm curious if she remembers telling me!

It stuck in my mind after that day, resonating as one way to "pray always" so I started doing it too. I would not only pray for the person in the ambulance, but also let it remind me to pray for people I knew who were in difficult or desperate circumstances.

She had a bulletin board in her house too, with missionary prayer cards from all over the world. I adopted that from her as well, making it a focal point in our house as a prayer prompt for missionaries I know and love.

If you've been in my kitchen, you've seen this! If you're not on here, send me your prayer card!

Over the years more things became prayer prompts, easy reminders in my day to "pray always".

A pretty blue travel coffee thermos? Prayer prompt for a particular friend in the States.

Pictures on my piano? Reminders to pray every day for my precious kids.

Dave gave me this painting for Christmas just this year and it's my reminder to pray for a movement of God in our region of Czech since it's a view of Lysa Hora and our surroundings.

While there are literally thousands of churches dotted across the country, there are not a lot of believers. So whenever I see a church, I pray for the people who go to it, and for the people who live around it.

When we first moved here to Czech, and I felt so overwhelmed by how few believers were here, the Lord gave me a very precious way to pray. His instructions were, "If a child in the grocery store catches your eye, pray that they will come to know me."

I suppose I've prayed for thousands of children here in the Czech Republic over the past twenty one years. It will only be in heaven that I'll find out how many came to know Him. But it's my joy to pray for those children every time I'm in a grocery store.

Photo from Google Images

I have more prompts than this, but you get the idea. I love to pray and this keeps me praying throughout every day.

Hope it inspires you to choose some prayer prompts too!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Heading Out Again

In the midst of a lot going on, that cute little face brings me a lot of joy when she's waiting for me at home. How can you not love that face?!

Dave and I are headed to Latvia tomorrow where he will be speaking this week-end at a youth leader conference led by our JV team there.

We are actually saying goodbye to Kaylee's cute little face for a few weeks now as we'll be on the road until mid-April.

So thankful for our dear El for once again taking care of her while we're gone. It's a huge blessing that I get to go with Dave, and I'm so excited to see our team in Latvia and all that God's doing there.

Monday, March 23, 2015

With All My Heart

From my home here in the Czech Republic, THANK YOU with all my heart for visiting here today!

Photo Credit to František Procházka

It's a milestone day for my blog, Living By Lysa (Lysa being "Lysa Hora", the mountain I see out my office window, and pictured above in this gorgeous painting that I wish I owned! I'm thankful to Google Images for that picture).

Since Google Analytic started keeping track in 2011, you dear readers have visited me 500,000 times. Bless you! Thank you! That means so very much to me.

I started blogging in 2006 as a way to keep my family up to date on what was happening in our lives and ministry. In those early years, I was lucky to get a blog post out a few times a month!

But in 2011 I committed to blogging regularly and haven't looked back ever since.

I've hit the "Publish" button on 1,343 blog posts over the past eight and half years. And each time I make a post it's my desire to record with genuineness and honesty the joys, difficulties, delights and trials of our lives.

Yet most of all, it's my hope to communicate the grace, goodness and faithfulness of the Lord as we share our lives and the Gospel through the ministry of Josiah Venture here in Czech, and throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Aside from my family and circle of friends, I don't know how, why or when you found your way to my blog. But I'm thankful you did! My hope is that you'll find something here to encourage, challenge, motivate and strengthen you as you walk with, trust in or seek the Lord in your own life.

Thank you again for coming here today and every other day you might have visited me here at Living By Lysa! I look forward to sharing more of my life journey with you in the months and years ahead.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Morning Surprise

The last morning at KPM, the youth leader conference we've been at in Slovakia this week-end, started out as usual: seven hundred participants coming in to find their seat; sleepy chatter as people sat down with anticipation for the morning session; and Dave getting up to speak.

But then, everything turned upside-down.

Of course it did! That's been the theme of the conference: The Upside-Down Kingdom.

It was announced that in place of a closing morning program everyone would be heading to church instead.

That sounds so normal for a Sunday morning, right? But it's the first time in 22 years of KPM that it's been done!

Two churches were "in on the secret" and had a special program prepared at each location where the conference participants could choose to attend.

Once given the go ahead, 700 young leaders took to the streets of Zilina and headed for church together.

While it would've been fun to walk with everyone, Dave and I drove to the Evanjelický kostol of Žilina where we were attending with Maruška, the KPM director, and a very dear friend and JV teammate. (See HERE and HERE for more about her!)

What people didn't know was that Dave would be giving his final conference talk in this church, while another young man would be giving a similar one in the other church (he and Dave had coordinated their messages).

What a sweet morning it was, worshipping with nearly 600 believers in this beautiful church!

Photo Credit: Lubo Bechny

Dave and I were seated up front, so I was a bit self conscious to take pictures once we were seated since I was in view of everyone. Yikes! I put my camera away, but used my phone to quickly take a few photos to capture the moment because, well you know...that's how I love to remember and enjoy those special, good and precious moments.

The pastor of this church, Marián Kaňuch, is a dear friend of Dave's and it was absolutely delightful to be under his shepherding this morning. He was so creative, genuine, warm and pastoral as he led the service and gave the first message.

Then it was Dave's turn.

He shared the last, and most difficult, secret of the Kingdom:

I wish you could've heard it (maybe some of you who are reading DID hear it?!) - it was powerful. He spoke about losing your life for the sake of the Kingdom...that if you try to save your life, you'll lose it; but if you give your life, you'll find it. That's a very simple explanation of a profound truth, one that I've heard him preach before and continue to strive to live out.

The service ended with a very meaningful "three generation prayer" by three individuals. The last to pray was this woman below, representing the older generation of believers. Many, including myself, had tears in their eyes when she finished. There was such a sense of unity between all the believers, at all stages of life, who were there this morning.

One last dear, winsome and oh so delightful moment of our Sunday service together: can you see what the pastor and his wife are doing together up front in the church?

He said it had probably never been done before: A "selfie" of him, his wife, and as many as he could fit in as possible!

"Thanks for sending me the photo Marián!"

How fun is that?! I grabbed my phone to get one too (though I missed me in the photo!)

And then tonight I saw this picture on Facebook by someone who had their camera and thought to get in there and capture this.  How I love seeing all those people gathered together.

What a beautiful way to end a Sunday morning spent with believers of all ages, as we wrapped up an incredible KPM conference.

May the truths that were taught be remembered, and more importantly, lived out, for many years to come.

**A beautiful four minute video of the two Sunday morning church services for KPM, thanks to Lubo Bechny!**

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Upside Down Kingdom in Slovakia

I'm sitting in a mall here in Zilina, Slovakia with what I think is only thirty minutes of free wifi!

On a break from KPM, the conference Dave is speaking at here this week-end, I popped over so I could meet with a friend, and then get a blog post out in case anyone's wondering how it's going!

This Slovak team is so creative! The above scene is what greets you before you enter the cultural house where the conference is taking place. They built this cool display to welcome people into God's upside-down Kingdom. So clever!

The morning program started off with a well-known of our former JV Kids, all grown up now and just about ready to move back to Slovakia with his wife and join the JV TCKompas team, Hudson Jones! What a great job he did creating the atmosphere to start off the day.

I don't think I've ever seen this done before...some absolutely beautiful, worshipful music played instrumentally just before Dave came out to speak. Another creative detail that set the tone for the morning.

Notice the upside down cups that are really lights? Another very cool detail to remind you what the conference theme is!

With 800 people there this morning, Dave had his work cut out for him as he came out to teach after the music. Here he is an American, speaking Czech to a Slovak audience; his notes are in English, he reads and teaches out of his Czech Bible, and the PowerPoint is in Slovak!

My unbiased opinion?! He did great at keeping everything straight, and communicating some powerful principles about God's Upside-down Kingdom!!

An amazing time of worship followed his teaching.

Then, after the morning program Dave was interviewed by a Slovak radio station, and had the opportunity to clearly share about his messages this week-end, as well as his testimony and the impact that the Gospel has made in his own life and in the lives of those who are here at the conference. Very cool opportunity!

I think my thirty minutes are just about up so I'll finish here! He's got another session tonight - looking forward to it!