|Posted on July 9, 2020 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
Looking at scripture this week sparked some serious thought. Ready to think deeply and consider something that could change everything for you?
The story is from Numbers 16-18. It is about the rebellion of Korach. Korach stages an organized protest on behalf of the rest of the group who feels slighted by the elevated position of Moses and the high priests. Korach and the rest of those who had chosen to join him in the rebellion were swallowed up by the earth. It would appear the story is about the consequences of taking a position of opposition against a person chosen by the Lord, particularly one in leadership. This is an important lesson and true but I think there is something else to consider which seems to be extremely relevant for this time.
A couple of years ago in the early days of the Five Sisters Project, I succumbed to the temptation of “taking inventory”. I reviewed and evaluated what other organizations and ministries were “gettting” and I decided what I thought was fair or unfair. The Lord brought me up short with a living and active Word about my thought life. Who did I think I was to compare myself to anyone else? He reminded me of the 10th commandment, “Thou shalt not covet”. I thought this commandment was simply about being selfish and desiring what others had. He wanted me to know this command was critical because He is God and He is sovereign in His choices. Whether I had or did not have was not a coincidence, a lack of my striving sufficiently, or someone else’s good luck. He is all-knowing, loving God and He does what He will to accomplish what He intends. My covetousness was an in your face confrontation with the God of the universe about His decisions for what was best for me and others.
The problem is we “do not know what we do not know”. We need to trust the One who knows it all. All, everything, top to bottom, inside and out. ALL.
It occurred to me today that many of the issues we are facing in the current climate come down to these questions: What is fair? and Who is in charge?
Some things I did not get to choose. I did not choose to be in the family or country I was born into, the color of skin I have, or my station in life. Every day, I make personal choices. These impact me and my family. As a leader of a ministry, I also make choices for others. I am human and some of my choices have been good and others have not. One of the best and most important choices I have made is to follow Jesus. His example on how to be a human being on this planet is exemplary and I am a better person because of it but this is not why I surrendered my life to Him.
There is a God, three in one. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is sovereign and He is good. This means He always makes good choices. The Word says He has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and I have seen the benefit that comes from being under the protection of the decision to follow Him. But being under the umbrella of His grace does not give me the right to question His decisions. There is a wrestling that comes with that. I do not understand all of His ways and it is hard for me to understand the reasons for the horrible things that happen. I am not mindlessly submitting myself to a power-hungry leader. I have, however, ceased to resist the boundaries that He has set up for my protection. This includes understanding there are higher purposes for the things that I experience like unfairness, hardship, loss, and pain. In order to benefit from His wisdom, I must submit to the understanding that He is working all things out to the good of those (not just me) who love Him (Romans 8:28).
As humans, we want to know things. What’s next? Where are we going? What will it look like when we get there? We look to other sources for answers like horoscopes and palm reading (which the Lord expressly forbids). We like anything that gives us a prediction or a glimpse of the future so we have a leg up on life. We don’t do very well at trusting. The Israelites didn’t, the world doesn’t and as believers, we still don’t. But the Lord asks us to understand that the things we can’t explain, don’t understand, and are out of our control He can still turn into something good. It requires faith. Even when life seems unfair, He is still on the throne.
What do you think about the decisions Korach made and how that applies to you in your life? In the issues that we are currently facing? How would life be different if we could submit to Him and trust Him in everything?
This life is brief and one day we will be face to face with Him. We will have to account for our actions and our thoughts. Personally, I do not want to have to explain why I resented His decisions for the way my life would go or why I decided to operate outside of His will. It seems the lower I go, the greater I seem to understand and gain favor. I mean if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. My position is servant and my mission is to hear him say, “Well done.”
|Posted on November 26, 2019 at 1:00 PM||comments (2)|
Today, we “Raise a Hallelujah”! To be on the other side of an event like the “Building Something Beautiful” fundraiser with Jason Gray is an amazing and wonderful thing. We are all confident that the orchestration of this event was truly the Lord’s and both appointed and anointed.
As with many of the things we do, we learned on the fly about things we had never done before. We faced challenges, lost sleep, fought a social media battle with Facebook, cooperated with one another, met new people, were blessed with generosity, and pulled off an event in just three short weeks that some experienced “event planners” said was “absolutely nuts”. Well, that is the kind of God we serve. When He leads us, He provides for us. And when He says we can, even when we think we cannot, we can accomplish great things for the Kingdom.
Having said that, we made a relatively small amount of money on the fundraiser. I’m tempted to be discouraged by that but am told that is actually often the result. One of my friends who runs a nonprofit actually calls them “Friendraisers” instead of fundraisers. With that much effort, we wanted to think a financial blessing would be the outcome. And I supposed that sometimes happens. But I believe the fruit of this event has more to do with the relationships we developed, both personally and for our ministry.
I’d like to share another fruit of this event. When Jason and I met backstage, we discussed our vision for the evening. My priority was that Holy Spirit would have permission (not that He needs it) to do whatever He would do. So I invited Jason to allow the Holy Spirit to direct his plans for the evening. He cautioned me that many people come to a concert with the expectation that their favorite songs will be played and that they might be disappointed if that is not what happens. I assured Jason that I would be ok with whatever the outcome if He would do what He was led to do. Almost all of the feedback I have received indicated this very thing happened. I was told that folks came expecting the usual concert experience and were surprised, in a wonderful way. People said their hearts were touched. Some said they had been struggling and they were so encouraged. Some were impressed that Jason shared his struggles and how gentle and tender he was. They felt like they were engaged in a living room conversation with him.
I call that a success. And I’m ok with wherever the tally lands financially if there is fruit for the Kingdom of God. No, actually, I’m not just ok with that, I’m ecstatic. My entire goal at the Five Sisters Project is to point people to the Lord. And I think we hit that mark.
That is something worth shouts of praise. We have a list of things we could be asking for this week, but as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I think we are going to sit right here and be thankful. What a wonderful place to be!
|Posted on May 30, 2019 at 4:45 PM||comments (0)|
I am from insecurity and violence, from inappropriate sexuality and unexpected outbursts. I am from brokenness and rebellion, from acting out and desperation for love. I am from renewal and restoration, to victory and everlasting love. I am a survivor, a warrior, a protector. I am a believer in someone bigger than myself that makes it possible for me to be better and more loving in a way I could never be on my own. -- Anonymous
|Posted on March 19, 2019 at 7:40 PM||comments (1)|
Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.
I suggest there are many other things that are certain, not the least of which is that the Lord is God, always was, always will be.
There are other things that are certain. Like change.
I hate to admit it because I like to think of myself as flexible, but I really don't like change. I mean, I think I'm the reason they came up with the term comfort zone. It always seems like just when I get comfortable, things change. And that isn't good when the place you are comfortable seems like a good place to be.
In order for us to get sanctified, though, the Lord is always allowing things in our life to make us uncomfortable. We grow in discomfort. We either get better or worse but we cannot stay the same and be a follower of Christ. Until we are transformed into His image, we need to keep changing.
Some of the changes here at the Five Sisters Project have included people. People that got excited about what they saw God was doing here and wanted to come and be a part of it. They were amazing people and brought amazing gifts and talents to our ministry but circumstances change, priorities change and people move on. I hate that. It isn't comfortable but it is just a part of how this thing works. And apparently, it's a part of what God is doing with me to tranform me into His image. And that is a good thing.
As I reviewed this web site, I realized I hadn't kept up with some of those changes. So I looked over that and corrected it. It's good to see what God is doing and it's comforting in some way to see that some things haven't changed.
For example, on the original site, I had included a short explanation of how I ended up doing this thing called ministry. It was rewarding to see that rings as true today as it did at the beginning.
I decided to include that here:
"When the Lord snatched me away from the clutches of the enemy in my mid-thirties, I never imagined I'd end up working in full-time ministry.
Now, it's my life's work to be able to talk about Him and the power He has to transform a broken, busted up life and make it new.
It never ceases to amaze me that the Lord can take all of the careers, hobbies, and passions of my life and use them for all the different things that I do in my work at the Five Sisters Project. I'm always laughing about some skill that I'm using that I never thought I'd ever need in life. And He's even giving me some new equipment, too.
If you feel discouraged about the direction you think the world is going or you think people cannot change, come over and share a cup of coffee with me and I'll tell you about how I know first hand that He is still a God who Redeems, Restores and Renews the heart and He is still in charge."
I consider myself blessed to be able to come along on this journey with the Lord as He does what He seems to be doing here. I hope you will be one of the ones who gets excited about it and comes along, too.
God Bless You!
|Posted on April 14, 2018 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|
Today's AHA moment. Reading Matthew Henry's commentary as I study 1 & 2 Kings. As you may know, generationally wicked kings ruled. Ad nauseam. Gets old reading how wicked they are in the sight of the Lord and makes you feel a bit hopeless about our future based on the generational leadership. AND THEN, God raises up one who loves Him, Hezekiah. And he tears down all the places of idol worship! Do not lose hope and think that the decline means it is perpetual. GOD IS ABLE to raise up one who loves Him and brings course correction. Pray for the leaders of our country. This was not an easy task for Hezekiah. Opposition was fierce and attack by the enemy was brutal. Come on Lord. We are committed to you and trust your promises to us are true. No matter what it looks like in the world.
|Posted on February 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
I've just returned from a two week Mission Trip to the town of Pignon, Haiti.
Why on earth, you might ask, would I take a two week break from ministry at the Five Sisters Project to go to a third world country - a place President Trump recently called a "S__t Hole"?
In Haiti, life is a daily struggle to survive. Dropping in with some food, some clothing, some soccer balls. Well, that is just plain easy. It feels good to me. It blesses others. It makes a temporary moment of brightness in a dark and difficult life. And it leaves a mark on me of renewed appreciation for the simple things like electricity, indoor plumbing, hot water, convenient food. We take so very much for granted.
The work at the Five Sisters Project is different than that. Yes, there are times we just get to be a blessing in a difficult time. Drop by with some much needed "stuff". And that is important. Because needs do need to be met. But we have to be in it for the long haul. We are working toward solutions and not just bandaids. Ministry in your own community is hard. It requires tenacity. Creative solutions. Trial and error. Constant cheerleading. And clinging to Jesus. To tell you the truth, none of us has it in us to stick to it for the long haul. We need the love of Jesus.
Evidence in my life proves that He is at the center of the solution to every problem - big and small. The world does not agree. The world says if we think hard enough, work hard enough, give up enough, it can be better. None of this is true. We cannot do this on our own strength.
So I'm back on duty at the Five Sisters Project. And I'm waiting on the Lord of the Universe to give His perfect plans in His perfect timing. I'd love you to join me.
|Posted on January 10, 2017 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
Contact: Tracy Muhlenbeck FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
E-mail: [email protected]
FIVE SISTERS PROJECT TO HOST SHOWING OF DOCUMENTARY FILM
“NEFARIOUS: MERCHANT OF SOULS”
In an effort to raise public awareness of the nightmares of human trafficking, the Five Sisters Project of Wells, Minnesota, will be hosting a showing of the award winning documentary film, “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls,” on Thursday evening, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flame Theater in Wells. Admission to the movie is free, but due to the nature of the film’s content, attendance is not recommended for those under the age of 18. A discussion of the film will take place afterward, featuring representatives from the Five Sisters Project and Juli Fast, Regional Navigator from the Southwest Crisis Center.
From the very first scene, “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” ushers audiences into the nightmare of sex slavery that hundreds of thousands across the world experience daily, including many in southern Minnesota. But “Nefarious” is also a film that galvanizes hope through the triumphant testimonies from survivors of trafficking. The film also provides case studies that yield practical strategies to abolish human trafficking and expose the shadows surrounding the sex industry.
Tracy Muhlenbeck, founder of the Five Sisters Project, hopes that by showing the film, awareness of the horrors of trafficking will increase – and reveal how close to home the practice is occurring.
“January is designated as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” said Muhlenbeck. “It would be hard to miss the recent news stories about arrests in our area of those who are soliciting these services, which make this an important topic for us to address.”
Muhlenbeck also looks to shine a light of truth behind the practice of human trafficking.
“Prostitution is not a career choice. Traffickers are excellent manipulators and use deceit, charm and experience to target their victims. The subject of commercial sex trafficking is widely misunderstood. We are most concerned about what makes our youth vulnerable to getting involved in this industry and bringing awareness to thoughts, attitudes and behaviors which perpetuate the demand.”
The mission of the Five Sisters Project is to offer help, healing and hope to women in crisis and according to Muhlenbeck, that mission includes providing education and promoting community awareness for critical women’s issues. Those who are engaged with the fight to abolish human trafficking are heralding “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” as a phenomenal achievement, and by sponsoring this film event, Five Sisters Project looks to bring awareness of this important topic to the community at large.
For more information about this free event or to schedule an interview, contact Tracy Muhlenbeck at the Five Sisters Project by phone at 507-380-3365 or by email at [email protected]
|Posted on September 13, 2016 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
After a snag in the set up caused the donate button to give an error message, we are now completely set up to receive donations online through PayPal. If you would like to support our project, this is an easy and safe way to donate directly towards the ministry. God Bless You!
|Posted on August 18, 2016 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
Great success at our Open House event. Traffic was steady and we met a great number of wonderful people interested in what we are working on. Stop by and see our progress. Good things are happening.