Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Book - Captain James R Shively

Hi All!  Just popping on to say I have not disappeared off the face of the planet... I am busy writing, writing, writing and very much looking forward to the completion of my next book: Captain James R. Shively, an Exceptional Man, an Extraordinary Life. As many of you know, my step-dad was a fighter pilot in Vietnam, and was shot down over Hanoi, and subsequently imprisoned for six years.  The Lord laid on my heart about two years ago to write my Dad's life story.




I am listening to the tapes my Dad made with a reporter before he died and I am shocked - there is so much that he never shared with us.  His story of survival is fascinating.  It is an incredible tale of courage, strength, hope, and eventually, freedom.  He was twenty-five years old when he was captured.  Here is an excerpt:

Welcome to the Hanoi Hilton
He saw it from quite a distance as they were driving up.  It was an imposing, scary-looking  compound with  rows and rows of razor wire on top, and broken glass everywhere. They went through a big iron-gated door, which they unlocked for the truck. The truck drove in, and then there was another gate into a courtyard.  It was right out of a movie.  It was a huge, whitewashed  French Colonial building with green shutters and louvered doors. Jim half expected to see some French foreign legion guy walk out.  He knew exactly where he was:  Hỏa Lò Prison, loosely translated, "Hell Hole," also referred to sarcastically by American military as the Hanoi Hilton. No one knew for sure who had started the nickname,  but the first soldier to write it down had carved "Welcome to the Hanoi Hilton" on the handle of a pail by way of greeting the next visitor.  Now it was Jim's turn to be ushered in to the infamous, and by all accounts nefarious, living quarters.

           They had arrived at their destination, and the guards hoisted him off the truck and put the blindfold back on.  His hands were still tightly cuffed behind his back.  The guards did an excellent job of setting the scene for him, even though he was blindfolded.   They wanted him scared. At every door, they made a big show of locking it behind them with heavy metal keys.  Jim had the impression that they were taking him down to some basement, but he didn't know for sure.  He just knew it was dark and dreary.  They eventually entered a room.  They set him down on a wooden stool and took the blindfold off, and then left him alone.  He took a look around.  The room was intimidating.  It was all concrete - concrete floors, concrete walls, with just one bulb hanging down from the ceiling, providing scarcely enough light that he could see the iron bars and u-bolts against the wall.  A wave of fear went through him but he pushed it aside.  Surely they didn't plan to restrain him in those? 

            Always interested in architecture, he decided to study the walls instead.   Instead of smooth concrete, it looked like someone had taken plaster and just spread it out in handfuls, giving the walls a rough, egg-carton like appearance.  He found out later it was to deaden the sound.


Don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom.  Much of the book is infused with humor, because that's just the type of guy he was.  He was able to amuse himself in the dreariest of circumstances. I will keep you posted on the release date.  I was shooting for this Christmas, but the more I dive into this epic adventure, the more I want to tell.


Bless you!
Amy

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just four more days! I'm excited to be speaking and sharing my healing testimony in Heppner, OR on Sunday, August 24th...


Join us if you can!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Healing and the Gospel, Session 3

Hi Friends,

I have no words to describe how stunning our Lord is - God is surely pouring out His Spirit at ROLA,  testifying to His own salvation, just as His word promises:


God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles,
 and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
 (Hebrews 2.4)


I have never been more in awe of Him and of His healing power, available to every man, woman and child! Last night, we had the indescribable honor of witnessing His power as the Lord delivered a guest from depression and then filled her with joy unspeakable! What a wonderful, mighty God we serve!

Last week in class, we talked about how the religious spirit works to block Holy Spirit activity in the church.  Here is the handout I promised to those who asked:


How Religion* Blocks Healing


1.)  Hardness of heart will keep us from attaining the promises of God. (Hebrews 6:4-7, 11-12)


2.)  If we persist in hardness of heart, we may eventually and inadvertently align ourselves with the enemy.  ("Do not give the devil an opportunity." Eph. 4:27, see also James  4:7.)

We talked about common "rocks" that can cause hardness of heart:
unbelief
control 
fear
anxiety
discouragement
depression
anger 
bitterness
(fill in your own!)

3.) Persistent hardness of heart  = Alignment with enemy  = Holy Spirit quenched.


4.) The Holy Spirit departs when we pay allegiance to worthless idols.  (Jer.2:7-8)


Question for us: Are we in alignment with anything that is quenching His Spirit? "For my sake alone I will act, for how can I allow my name to be defiled?  I will not share my glory with anyone else!" Isaiah 48.11

*I define religion as misplaced emphasis, or "form without power" (2 Tim. 3:5).  It is a mindset that places more priority on outward behavior/rituals/traditions than on the actual manifest presence of God.



Friends, the bottom line is this: if we want God to pour out His always available rain upon us, we need to "clear the land" of religion - individually and corporately! (Hebrews 6:7-8)  If it appears that God isn't moving, something is out of alignment - and it isn't God!

I can't wait to see what He is gonna do next! See you next Sunday!

Amy

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Healing & the Gospel, Session 1

Greetings, everyone!

Last Sunday we started our Healing & the Gospel class  - and, WOW!!!  I'm still astonished and unable to find adequate words to describe what happened. I think it is fair to say God's presence, love, and power were revealed as He showed up in a mighty way.  

Here is the teaching, which in no way does justice to what happened afterward.  The real teaching came when I stopped talking, and the Holy Spirit showed up to confirm His own word.  Let that be a lesson to me to talk less! 



 


Love and blessings to all - I am REALLY looking forward to Kim's teaching this Sunday.

In excited anticipation of what God will do next,


Amy


Friday, April 4, 2014

Mexico Mission Trip - Spring Break 2014!

My hubby and 14 year old daughter recently got back from a ten day mission trip to Tecate.  This is Savanna in front of the home they helped build:




The proud new owner is a woman with two daughters and three grandsons who has never had a home before.  She couldn't stop crying as she thanked God for her new home.  And when she was done, she made fish tacos for forty people!

video


Steve and Savanna were profoundly moved.  They really bonded with the people in the community they served, and Savanna is already talking about going back next year.


As for Cruz and I, we went the opposite direction - north, up to Bellevue, and spent a good long week with my sister and her family.  This is her precious baby daughter:

She was really taken up with her cousin.


We bonded over stories, strolls in the park, swinging, and shopping. I dare say we wore her out at the mall. And you better believe my sister had to tear me away from her when it was time to go.  



We had fun on our separate adventures, but I am happy to have the four Hawks back in one nest. I hope your spring break was full of God's richest blessings!

Amy


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Girl at the End of the World - a Story of Religious Abuse

Over spring break, I read this book:








Girl at the End of the World, by Elizabeth Esther,  is the tremendously riveting and emotional story of her childhood, and final escape, from a fundamentalist cult.  I couldn't put it down.  It is stunning, brave, and relevant for everyone in the church.  Although Elizabeth's story is extreme, religious control is ubiquitous.  Many of us have been hurt by it, and can identify on some level.  In Elizabeth's case, her grandfather (who started the church) used his authority to control and manipulate people, placing himself in a position where others were not permitted to question him. The congregation was instructed to behave, dress, think, and even raise their children in a certain way.  Non-compliance resulted in swift church discipline and/or ostracization, promoting an atmosphere of judgment and accusation instead of  grace, kindness, and freedom.

Early on in our journey, Steve and I experienced a similar phenomenon in a church where the lead pastor was having an affair, but had elevated himself to such a position of rule, that there was no one left in his life with permission to ask questions. We felt deceived, disheartened and betrayed. If God puts authority over us, as Romans 13.1 says, then why do so many get hurt? As I brought my questions to Christ, He taught me about the ways that the enemy gains control in the church, using truly anointed leaders who succumb to the devil's influence.  The Bible says that our fight is not with man, but with the powers of darkness.

The devil is primarily a legalistic, controlling, manipulating being.  He comes to steal our peace and joy in Christ and turn it into religious performance.  How can we tell if the powers of darkness are operating in our church, in the form of religious control?  Here are some signs:
While we are to honor those in positions of authority, we are not obligated to stay under leadership that is untrustworthy, or under which we feel controlled, oppressed, intimidated, or manipulated.  The fact is, Jesus came to set us free from religious control:  For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5.1) The Body of Christ is waking up to the damaging effects of religious control, and wanting no part of it.  In Elizabeth's case, when she began to realize the effects that domineering legalism would have on her baby daughter, she gained the courage to flee. Parents, are your children in a safe place to learn about the real Christ?  The Christ who does not put pressure on them to conform or perform, but who instead invites them to  laugh, dance and discover the true joy and freedom of knowing and loving Him? In your church's atmosphere, are your children allowed to be who Christ made them to be?

Elizabeth, thank you for being brave enough to share your story.  I think this book is really important in this hour in church history, as it exposes the fruitless deeds of darkness.   May God use it mightily to bring profound healing and freedom to the Body of Christ!

And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3.17-18, The Message

Monday, March 17, 2014

Freedom on a Trampoline

We got a trampoline!  Actually, my son, who just turned twelve, got a trampoline for his birthday.  I was against it at first...but the testosterone in my family swayed me.  We got one of those supposedly super-safe ones with the mesh enclosure and fabric over the springs, so you can't slip through them.  So, we'll see.  Anyway, we bounced on it all weekend.  Cruise did ALL the flips!  Steve did some Daddy flips!  Savanna and I did various leaps and jumps!  So festive!  So fun!  We haven't laughed that hard as a family in a long time.    Totally, totally worth it.

Cruz

Then, yesterday while the kids were at school, that darn thing kept beckoning me.  I could see it out of the corner of my eye every time I walked by the kitchen window. There it stood, delicately sprinkled  with last nights' dew,  glimmering in the sunshine.  As I tidied up the breakfast dishes, I glanced out at it again and it whispered, "Amy, come jump!"  "Oh, no," I said, "I am a mature, responsible 40-something year old lady.  I don't jump on trampolines by myself in the middle of broad daylight, for all the world to see.  You must understand, we haven't been on this property long, and don't have it fully landscaped yet.  We are at the end of a cul-de-sac with no trees, no fence, NO VISUAL BARRIER.  In other words, "What Will The Neighbors Think?"

See what I mean?


But the trampoline would not take no for an answer.  "Remember how fun I was yesterday? ... and the sweet moves you did, with the wind in your hair?  And how it felt like you were flying?"





Sweet Moves/Flying


"OK," said I.  "But only for five minutes.  I have work to do today."  (I didn't, really, but it didn't know that.)  I walked out in my socks and glanced around, like some stealth spy.  I didn't see anyone, so I climbed on and started bouncing away.  And then, it happened!  As I jumped, I morphed into a kid again!  I was only twelve years old myself, jumping on a trampoline in the middle of the yard, with absolutely no visual barrier to protect me from the suspicious eyes of the neighbors. And yet, I did not care!   I jumped high!  I jumped low!  I twisted!  I turned!  I developed a sweet new move I call, "the twisty-turn."    I leapt, I did the splits - hey I used to be a gymnast - I did some moves a forty-something year old mom of two has no business doing on the trampoline.  And it was fun!  My neighbors pulled up.  "Hey, guys!" I waved and shouted.  (We don't know them very well, and now we probably never will.  But that's ok.) The man gave a sort of unsure half-wave.  The woman looked at me, mumbled something (maybe hello? I don't know...)  and went inside.  It made me laugh even more!  FREEDOM!   The whole thing made me think of this verse:  Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Gal 1.10)  Because, let me tell you people, like Eric Liddell, I FELT the pleasure of God!  Jesus likes to jump on the trampoline, oh yes, He does.

I jumped until my legs gave out and my hair hung in strings.  In full sight of all the neighbors.  And I didn't care.  I went inside and reveled in my new found freedom.   The beauty of it is that even three years ago I would never have done such a thing.  So unrefined!  So silly!  So crazy!  This is the effect God has had on me.  He came to give me life, so I could live it to the fullest.  No neighbors are going to stop me.  I thought to myself, rather smugly,  "If the kingdom belongs to the childlike, bring it on, Lord!"   I thought again about the twisty-turn maneuver.    I thought about how much I would like to bounce the next day.  If I had more practice, I could probably do a flip!  I thought about what a spectacle I would make out of myself, day after day, flipping and bouncing and twisty-turning in front of all the neighbors.  Then I went upstairs into my husband's office and asked him to buy me some trees. 

 Still, progress!

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