You’re Gonna Get FAT! by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey

 Yellow Polka Dot Easter Worship Background
Standing in the Fairford Sanctuary in Manitoba, Canada, I had just finished a service and was speaking with some ladies afterwards.  Slowly a local pastor made his way to our group and joined his wife in our conversation.
After small talk among our group, the pastor turned and looked at me with a very intense stare and said "God told me you're gonna get fat."  Now, I want you to imagine a group of 5-6 women who are robbed of words and stunned into a vocal paralysis awaiting my reply.  What will she say? How will she react? Is she mad? Will she cry? Will he live to give another Word of the Lord? Standing there for a few seconds felt like a slow motion scene Where I could hear my heart pound loudly.  I mean what's the proper response to that?  All I could think to say was "praise the Lord?"  Thankfully he quickly clarified his statement and says "God said you will be spiritually fat not physically". Suddenly, the color returned to all the faces of those ladies and they collectively took a huge sigh of relief. This is a word I can get on board with.  This is a Word of the Lord I want!  He went further to say that … Many people would eat from the table of the Word God would place in me. I would dare say that to those of us who seek the Lord diligently that this word is true for us all.  When you are filling your mind with God's word, you aren't the only one who will eat from that table.  The Word of God is a delightful, sweet, hardy, filling and satisfying meal.  Partake of it and you will be FAT with good things and those around you will also partake of the goodness the Lord has placed in you. Psalm 63:5-8 ESV My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
From <
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+63
>
    Blessings from Lori Willey Worship Pastor Abundant Life Worship Center 6070 Hobbs Road Salisbury, MD 21804   www.alwc.org

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A Work He Puts His Name On … by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey

A Work He Puts His Name On … by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey I am a creative person and I work with graphics a lot, much of what I do involves tiny decisions.  Will I move a line over, inch a photo to the left, change a font, edit or delete text, go with minimal or over the top?  Every little detail goes through a thought process and the final question I ask myself is … Is this good enough and will I be proud to put my name on this? Imagining God’s creative process, My mind pictures his hand pulling mountain peaks of strength into the skyline, I can see him molding the seas and adding their movement to give grace to a rigid land in need of a physical expression of worship, I hear him spreading the color of green across the fields and trees as his hand brushes the canvas of the earth and I can almost feel His breath fill the lungs of a man and woman He saw in His finished outcome.  Every detail He chose and was proud to put His name upon it with finality that He was God and Creator of it all. Psalm 139 (NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. The Creator has also taken special care to form you.  He loves you and everything that is unique about you.  He made an incredible masterpiece when He formed you.  He has placed His name upon you and is proud to take ownership of you. Be encouraged today!  God loves and accepts you not with tolerance but with enthusiasm as a proud Father and Creator.  He longs for you to display the beauty of who He has called you to be.  Walking tall with gifts and callings that only you can do.  You have a flavor with the message that He stirs inside of you.  You have a sound with the words He speaks to you.  You have a texture with the blanket of the call He has put on your life.  When you walk as the original person He called you to be there is nothing that can estimate the value of who you are.  You are a priceless work and creation that He is proud to put His name on. You may feel that you have let life change the person God has called you to be.  Today I am so happy to tell you that He can restore your life!  He can put everything back and blot out anything that has covered you with darkness.  There is nothing that this Master Craftsman can’t fix.  Just lay yourself before Him and He will repair the damage. Isaiah 43:1-7  (The Voice)   Eternal One: Remember who created you, O Jacob? Who shaped you, O Israel?  See, you have nothing to fear. I, who made you, will take you back.  I have chosen you, named you as My own. When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm;  you will not be engulfed in raging rivers.  If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned.   Today, God has declared that whatever is threatening to change his creation will not prosper.  When you feel the pressures of circumstances trying to mold you out of what God called you and formed you to be, stand fast and keep pressing through the fire because he will not let it bend you out of his purpose.  You are His workmanship and He will see that you are well taken care of.

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Prayer Triggers by Worship Pastor Lori Willey

Prayer Triggers by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey Philippians 1:3-6 MSG we notice one of Paul's beginning statements says "Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer."  Did you know that we even need to choose life in our prayers?  So often we make our prayers a dumping ground of complaint and grumbling.  A place where we unload all the dirt and grime of unharnessed thoughts and out of control emotions.  Think about the good things in life … Let's say you have a great marriage and it is easy to break open a thankful monologue of how blessed you are that God has shown his grace to you by giving you the spouse of your dreams and you want God to shower them with blessings and beautiful things.  One thankful statement leads to another and the next thing you know you have prayed the most faith filled, God minded prayer over them.  However, suppose you are dealing with a co-worker that is working your last nerve, a boss who takes advantage of your loyalty, friends who have disappointed you, children who have made poor choices, family who aren't there for you or have hurt you.  Often our grumblings create cursing opportunities.  None of us want to speak over our lives in this way. Deuteronomy 30:29 NIV says "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."  When our prayers are molded around a thankful & God centered meditation they will bring about a God centered result!  However, in the same way, if our minds are thankless vats of complaint the only thing we have the ingredients to make are curses on our situations.   We've all heard the saying "stir the pot" .  We usually associate this with negativity but let's dedicate ourselves to "stirring the pot" of a thankful heart.  Making one batch after another of life prayers that have stewed in a grateful heart. Meditate on these scriptures.  Each time you feel complaint begin to rise, quote these scriptures and break the chain of death and cursing in your life!
  • Psalm 30:11-12 (NAS) Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; That [my] soul may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to Thee forever.
  •  Colossians 4:2 (NAS) Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving 
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NAS) in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
   

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You okay? I’m okay? by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey

A sneeze, a cough, a sniffle ... These sounds brought about a famous line in my home.  When my son was small, I had the great privilege of keeping him home till he was almost four years old.  His heart has always been so sweet and kind and nothing I could say would express it any better than this memory. My office at one time was in my kitchen.  I would work and he would be in his room at the other end of the house.  Then without fail, if I sneezed, coughed, or sniffled ... I would hear him yell from the other end of the house "You okay? I'm okay!" Truthfully, I don't know how he heard me.  Every toy, gadget, TV and game he had would be loud and playing all at one time but he always heard.  He always checked.  He was so in tune to me and my needs.  It became almost comical as I was constantly reassuring him that I was just fine and he could resume his life as a preschooler and not a caretaker. In much the same way, we move through life and wonder at times does God see me? Does He know I don't feel okay ?  Does He know I feel like I'm drowning? Is He aware that things seem like too much?  And if we stop to listen, we will hear him calling ... "You are okay because I am good and I am always with you!"  He's got it! Whatever it is ... He's got you and your need.  He hears you even when you think it's impossible.  We serve a great and mighty God who is always waiting to respond to our faith!  Read and meditate on these scriptures.  Let them sink into your spirit and take root so that they are the foundation of your knowledge that God hears you.
 Ps 118:5 I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.
Is 30:19 He will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer you.
Is 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Take today to be still and know that he is God and that He hears you and loves you.

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BooBoos and Band-aids, by Worship Pastor Lori Willey

Boo Boos and Band-aids When I was a little girl we lived in an area that combined apartments, condos, town homes and single family houses.  It was a kid's dream.  There were always friends to play with and things to do.  My very best friend was named Dava.  We were strong and independent kindergarteners who roamed the neighborhood with adventurous spirit in Mary Jane dress shoes.  I was little in stature but a giant in spirit.   One particular day when the play was over, I began the journey from her townhome manor to my apartment castle where my mother had prepared a feast for my lunch.  Life was good and my journey home would be quick.  I had no idea her brother was lurking around the corner to scare me.  He came after me and my heart skipped a beat. Unfortunately for me, up the steep rolling pavement I was climbing in my Mary Janes, my feet also skipped a step.  Down I went.  The skin from my knee tore and I was in horrible pain.  My story book play day turned to the most horrific tragedy.  Blood was pouring down my leg and as any good princess would do, I went screaming for help!   My mother came running out of our apartment castle and scooped me up.  When her soothing voice had settled my hysterical cry, she began to tell me of the best plan to make it all better.  It was probably a good idea to go to the doctor for stitches, she said.  NOOOOOO!!!!  What was she thinking?  How could she possibly want me to endure such pain and torture?  Wasn't it bad enough that I was already hurting?  My sad eyes and balloon size tears convinced her against her better judgment.  She stuck me in the bath and so began a summer of irritating, painful play days.   You see I didn't listen.  I was convinced that more pain couldn't help my hurt.  I was convinced that doing the hard thing … the scary thing … could not be the right move.  I played for weeks with huge bandages on my knee.  In the heat, they would peel off and my wound would be exposed.  The wound would reopen and I kept going through the agony of it all over again.  I watched while all of my friends swam in the pool and I couldn’t.  I watched while they played in the grass and rolled around, sliding down hills on the magic carpet of a cardboard box, but I could not because it still hurt!   As an adult I still have a scar about an inch long on my left knee.  I and my mother are convinced that it wouldn't be there if I had just been willing to see the doctor and do the hard thing.   Makes me think that many of us bear scars from days that should have gone totally right but just didn’t end up that way.  In our emotions, we sacrifice what's best for what will feel better at the moment.  Wisdom gently tells us we must take our wound to the great physician but we insist on ignoring the truth.  Coddling our hurt, we try to bandage it.  We try to take care of it.  Why isn't it healing?  Why isn't it getting better?  Why can't we enjoy life, while we watch others have joy and peace?   Any hurt not subject to the expectation of healing is a force that will scar your faith till healing comes.  Open wounds break open, but faith in our Healer closes even the deepest wound with skill and precision.  His healing leaves us able to remember the adventure without the scar of pain.  I must admit, I remember the pain of that day not only because I was hurt but because I continued to hurt long after healing should have come.  The enemy loves to mock our Faith with memories where we never even gave God a chance to be our physician.   Run home and let God take care of your wounds.  Let Him bring it to a close and live pain free from the past from this day forward.   Psalm 147:3 MSG  He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds.

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Come Home by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey

Psalm 91:9-16 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”   Someone once asked me to describe my husband in one word.  From deep within me an immediate response came to my mind and words.  HOME – He is my home.  No matter where I am, what I am doing, what my circumstances are, I know everything will be ok because I have made my natural life’s home with him.  He keeps me safe, provides for our family, loves me, watches over me, and gives to me all the time.   In the same way, I have made Christ my HOME.  Everything starts and ends from this habitation.  I love the safety of being under his watchful eye.  I am at peace because His heart is to take care of me.  What a beautiful life.   Today, my thoughts are simple to communicate.  I encourage you that if you have already made Christ your HOME … stay close, enjoy His presence, and praise His name.  In Matthew 21 … Jesus makes his entry into the town and the crowd is crying Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest.  His presence and their praise caused the whole city to ask, Who is this and What is going on?  Shout it loud that … Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!  Let's be a part of bringing a whole city to ask ... Who is this and What is going on?   If you don’t know Him … Invite Him in and make Him your habitation (HOME).  If you have wondered away from this safe place … Come HOME!  You are loved, wanted and always provided for in His presence.   Matthew 21:6-10  The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna to David’s son!” “Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!” “Hosanna in highest heaven! “As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, “What’s going on here? Who is this?

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Don’t GROW Weary by Worship Pastor, Lori Willey

Every day begins a new challenge to shower our lives and thoughts with life giving words that are healing rain.  Lives full of love, patience, friendliness, compassion, and maturity are what a God gardened life produces.  He grows strong and healthy crops that are energized with grace to accomplish what they are purposed to do.   James 1:21 MSG In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.   The enemy wants to make this hard!  He wants to pop up a weed of discouragement, a thorn of hopelessness, introduce a parasite of selfishness, a drought of laziness, or send a predator of discord.   None of us intentionally want to grow weeds.  We want lives full of extravagant goodness, but when the enemy gets a hold of our attention we start to begin ministering to the weeds rather than the seed.  The next thing you know, we have grown a harvest of weary hearts.  
Galations 6:9 NIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
 
Weary:  : Exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness.  Having one's patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted.
  My friends, we don’t magically become weary or exhausted.  They are a harvest and happen when we work in our own strength and believe the lies of the enemy.  They are a product of a lack of trust. God’s grace and his provisions are never exhausted.  He can look at our barren lives and His Word can clear out the weeds and make a beautiful oasis once more.  Our responsibility is to respond and water our hearts with the Word.  Good things will grow and life will be in abundance once more.   If you are feeling overwhelmed, bombarded with negative emotions, and exhausted, I invite you to lay it all at the feet of Jesus today.  I believe His favorite gift to give is a new beginning.  Your life is His favorite garden!

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“Sometimes You Just Gotta Take a Nap”

"Sometimes You Just Gotta Take a Nap" by Worship Pastor Lori Willey 12/3/12 Rest is a necessary part of life.  However, if you are anything like me you may treat it as optional at times.  Yesterday, my Pastor was talking about rest in his sermon.  I started thinking about the significance of both natural and spiritual rest.  Isn’t it interesting that we can tend to feel guilty for taking rest?  The enemy only gets away with that accusation if we are unaware of its importance and what God’s Word says about the matter. Psalm 121:4 (AMP)Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. In Mark 4:35-41, We can read of Jesus in the boat taking a rest. I want to point out just a few interesting things …
  • Jesus knew when to rest … Any other fellow night owls out there other than me who need to take a note from Jesus on this one?
  • When awoke by the fear of the disciples, Jesus was able to respond with refreshed authority and renewed faith because He laid down with the understanding that His Father doesn’t sleep on the job!  The Message translation says that the wind ran out of breath!  Can you imagine how exciting it must have been to see Jesus leave a storm helpless, speechless, and unable to communicate the fear it had been sent to proclaim.  It gives me chills.
  • The Word says the disciples when they awoke him said “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Here we see the enemy doing what he does best … ACCUSE.  Jesus paid no mind to this accusation.  He knew better.
When we aren’t rested sometimes we blame God or others for the mess we are in.  In essence we let the storm take the wind out of our “faith”.   A rested and refreshed mind has Faith authority in God to take the wind out of a storm. So what does rest look like for us today?  Rest is a refreshed spirit and a whole body.   Take a look at Matthew 11:28-30 ….28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Having a working knowledge of the Word of God and his nature enables us to rest in faith that He will not slumber or sleep.  He is ever working on our behalf and we can rest in Him!

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