We had our first team planning meeting for the Kingwood/Northeast march on Monday.  It was exciting to see the people from all of the different churches (and synagogue) coming together to plan the 2013 March.

While we will be meeting with the teams for each march location, Kingwood is being used as a model based on what was done last year.

It was an awesome meeting and we got off to a great start.  However, to be honest, the rest of the week was a little tumultuous.  The core team is working out a lot of details: getting the framework down on paper; putting together promotional items; getting confirmations and finalizing details for the other locations; planning the city wide Leaders’ dinner; and confirming details for the Kingwood pastor’s luncheon.  The Kingwood team is getting a handle on what is laid out for them.

From conversations with people, I can tell there’s a feeling of overwhelm.

So I’m sharing what I consider my theme verse and song for the planning of the March:

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

I volunteer every few weeks at the Kingwood Healing Room, which is team prayer for physical healing.  Before going into the actual healing room to receive personal prayer, the person first goes to the “soaking” room where soft worship music is being played and a volunteer prays silently for the person.   It’s a time for the person to just receive and connect with God.  Some people like coming just for that.

When I’m praying for someone in the soaking room, usually a verse will come to mind and that is what I pray over them.

A few months ago I as I prayed for someone with fibromyalgia, the verse “the joy of the Lord is my strength” came to my mind.

I thought, “That is an awesome verse.  I’m claiming that one for myself as well.”

I’ve had been reading quite a bit in Psalms so I assumed that was where it was from . . . it sounds like it would be in Psalms.  But when I looked it up in my Bible, it was actually from Nehemiah.

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!
~ Nehemiah 8:10

When I read that, that makes it even more awesome than a Psalm.

The book of Nehemiah is about being faced with an overwhelming task in the face of opposition and serious obstacles.  Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the Persian king (Persia was at that time the controlling power in the area.)  He heard about the condition of the holy city of Jerusalem and that the wall surrounding it had not yet been rebuilt.  He received permission from the king and went back to Jerusalem to oversee it.

He mobilized the people and rebuilt the wall in just 52 days, countering infighting among the Jewish officials and attacks from without from the Samaritans.  They were working in such a hostile environment, that he brought the workers in to the city for protection, scheduled shifts, and had the builders working with one hand and holding a shield in the other.

Strategy, Fortitude, and Focus

It is a story of strategy, having fortitude in the middle of challenges and keeping the focus on the goal.  And above all else, remembering that the primary objective was that:

The joy of the Lord is our strength.

So that’s my verse as I work on the march, and I’m sharing it with you, my planning peeps.

There are a lot of elements to the event, but we have an awesome team and what needs to be done is simple and straightforward.  We just have to keep our eyes on the goal, follow the plan, and work together as a team.

The King is Coming

Along with that verse, this song, “The King is Coming,” from The Newsboys on their God’s Not Dead tour is what I consider my theme song for planning.   The whole album is awesome.  It’s like it is calling down revival.  But this song especially fits the purpose and the day itself.

The King is Coming Lyrics

Empty hearts are filling up
Wicked ways are coming undone
Every eye is looking out for You
City lights are burning out
Freedom’s song is ringing loud
Dead men waking up to the sound of You

And all our hearts can sing
All our hearts can sing is

Make a way for
Make a way for
Make a way for the King
The King is coming

Split the sky with your glory
Bring to life an awakening
Burn away everything that’s not for You
Hear our voices crying out
We won’t stop ’til heaven’s come down
We won’t stop ’til every knee bows to You

And all our hearts will sing it

Make a way for
Make a way for
Make a way for the King
The King is coming

Open up the doors
Open up the doors
Life your eyes to see
Our King is coming

I also think of this as the 24:7 song

Open up ancient gates!
Open up ancient doors
and let the King of Glory Enter!
~ Psalm 24;7

Psalm 100 gives us instructions on how that happens:

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

We are Stronger Together

God  made his people to work together as a team.  So remember, if you run into a situation where you are frustrated or discouraged, even if it’s not march related, you’re not alone.

You have a team of people there for you and praying for you.

I’ll end this post by sharing something that Joy sent me after praying for me today (the timing of when she sent it was apt to the minute.)

God is saying we conquer little by little,
precept upon precept,
line by line.

I pray for you rest, rest, rest,
for the rest of the day.

Blessing to you for a wonderful and productive week.

Carla Alvarez
Promotions MORH