Worry Time to Prayer Time

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything in my blog. I guess too many things have gotten in the way, and I haven’t made it a priority, not that it was a consistent priority anyway. I’m thinking about starting again.

As kind of a restart, I want to share one that I wrote a few years ago on “worry”. I wrote it during I time that I was dealing with a lot of worry and stress. What made me think of this is that the message at our church last Sunday was on the same subject. So,I thought it would be good to re-post it.

Please read. I hope you enjoy it and might take a little something from it.

Beginning of Post

I’m not one that usually worries too much, but I find myself doing it more and more recently. I guess it’s understandable with recent events at work, the seemingly never ending rise in the cost of living, one of my children driving now, and just the usual concerns about kids and other family members, but that doesn’t mean I just accept it and live with it on a daily basis. So, what to do?

A few weeks ago, our Pastor spoke on this very subject and the message really hit me. You know how you feel sometimes that the message was written specifically for you? You know how, as Christians, we’re always listening for God to speak to us? Sometimes He speaks in a quiet, still voice, but this time, there was no quiet or still about it. It was loud and clear. I almost felt like I was back in my high school or college basketball days and the coach was screaming at me, telling me how to do something correctly. Needless to say, He got my attention.

The message was from Philippians 4:4-9. But for this, I’ll focus on verses 4 & 6. Verse 4 says “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!“. Verse 6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.“. Since that message, I’ve been spending time in that passage trying to understand what God is saying and then put it into practice. During my reading, I came up with a list of questions and these are probably some of the same questions you might have.

  1. How do I rejoice in the Lord always with all the stress?
  2. What does worry do to us? What are its effects?
  3. Why do we worry in the first place?
  4. What does worry show about us? As Christians, what does it show about our faith?
  5. What do we do about it? How do we deal with worry?

Verse 6 is pretty clear about what to do. Basically, my paraphrase of it is “don’t worry, but bring all my concerns/worries to God Himself, and be specific”. So, that’s what I decided was my first application of this passage. Now, when I feel the worry coming on, I pray and lay it at the feet of my Lord, the God of the universe. And, I have to say, there is comfort found in that.

So, do you worry? Do you have some of the same questions about dealing with it that I do? How are you dealing with it? I encourage you to spend some time in Philippians 4:4-9 because God has answers for us there. Turn your worry time to prayer time and engage with the Lord God Almighty.

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 6 Conference Ends

The end of our 6th day here has come to an end, and we only have 1 more full day left. What a great day it was. The closing of the Pastor’s conference was a blessed time. Although it’s been a very busy 3 days, I was kind of sad to see it end.

We started out early once again to get to Vista Del Valle before breakfast started. After breakfast we were to go on the hike down to the bottom of the waterfall for a morning Bible study, but because it rained all night last night, we had to cancel it. The ground was too slippery. The remainder of the day consisted of 1 more session, lunch, and then a final session dedicated to testimonies.

Oh man, what a blessing to hear those that shared a testimony. We had one of the Pastor’s wives, who spoke very good English, sit with us and interpret for us. Each 1 that got up to speak talked of how the conference had been a blessing to them. How it was a gift from God. A few of them talked about how they didn’t know what to expect and were nervous about going, but were now, so glad that they had come. One spoke of how they had had a number of issues come up right before coming, and that Satan was doing everything possible to stop them, but they came. And with tears in her eyes she expressed her heartfelt thanks and praised God. When they were done, they had all of us (the Lucas’ and Caskey’s) come to the front, and then they prayed over us. Just WOW!

I know these Pastors and their spouses were blessed by being there, but little do they know how much they blessed us. They left with a new fire burning inside of them. They left feeling like they had just taken a dip in a nice, cool pool on a steamy, hot summer day. They left feeling encouraged, loved and supported. And, they left with a renewed faith in our Lord. I left with a new sense of awe at what God did in their lives over the last 3 days. I left with thanksgiving that God gave me and my kids the privilege of serving them.

After we left the conference, it was time to celebrate what God had done. It was time for…Pizza Hut!

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 5 Pastors Smiling

Wow, day 5 has been a loooooooooong day. It began by us leaving the house at 5:30 AM to get to the conference center by 6:00 AM for breakfast. Ouch! But, the long day was fruitful and we saw God working.

After breakfast the Pastors and their spouses loaded into a tour bus and headed to the San Luis Canopy Tour that me and my kids went to a few days ago. It’s a standard part of the conferences and is meant to give these Pastors and spouses a chance to cut loose, have some fun, and share the experience together to build relationships and camaraderie. Just like many of them have never been on a vacation, or to a retreat, they probably have never had an opportunity to go on a Canopy Tour either. It’s a very “touristy” thing to do and is usually too expensive. Jumping ahead to their return, evidently the Canopy Tour was a success. Everyone of them returned with smiles on their faces, laughing and sharing their stories about the zip-lines. “BUENO” was the common response, with 2 thumbs up.

Session 3 started shortly after, and once again I spent the time praying for the needs expressed by some of these Pastors and spouses. What struck me this time was how basic some of their needs seem. At least to me, someone from the US, they seem pretty basic. As I read through some of these prayer requests, translating as we went, I was stunned by the lack of things that I thought everybody, including them, already had. But, they just don’t. To these guys, these needs of theirs are almost monumental and sometimes appear to be unmeetable. For instance, today a number of them expressed the need for a car for their family and ministry. My heart sunk to think they don’t have a car. As I prayed and then read some scripture, God led me across Psalm 11:4 & 7.

4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.

7 For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.

As I read that, I asked God to let these Pastors know that He is in His temple and on His thrown. In other words, the Lord is in total control. Also, that He knows their heart and sees their needs. And I prayed that they will see his face through his provision and blessing. It’s interesting to me that later in the evening, when Steve gave a special message regarding what The Brook Ministries is all about, one of the key points that he stressed to them is that God provides and knows each one of their needs in their ministry and in their life. I thanked God for His affirmation of what I prayed earlier.

What a great day it was! The stress and strain of ministry is being relieved from the shoulders of these Pastors and spouses, they’re having fun and their faith in the Lord is being renewed.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 4 Conference Starts

The end of our 4th full day in Costa Rica has come to a close. This was the absolute busiest day, so far, from beginning to the end. Though it was busy, it was a wonderful day. The 3 day Pastor’s conference began today.

It wasn’t too early of a start as the Pastors and their spouses weren’t actually to arrive at the conference until around 12:00 PM, but we knew that some would probably arrive early, so we did get there between 9:30 AM and 10:00 AM. We got everything setup for the conference pretty quickly and then were ready for everyone to arrive. They all arrived over the next couple of hours. All of us had our assigned duties of either welcoming them, helping with registration, taking pictures or getting the audio/video equipment setup, and everyone jumped right in. It was a good start to the day.

The Pastors and their spouses were all very nice, friendly, a bit quiet and a bit uncertain about what to expect the next 3 days to be like. Many of them have never been to a retreat or conference like this. For many of them, this may be the first time they’ve been on anything like a vacation, away from home or the family for any extended period of time, or even to a hotel. One of the goals of The Brook Ministries is to provide the opportunity for these Pastors and their spouses to be refreshed, renewed, have a chance to get away and be ministered to, instead of them being the ones doing all the ministering. If you think about it, being a Pastor can be emotionally, physically and spiritually draining, and they need to have times to relax, to be supported and encouraged by others, which includes the support of other Pastors. They also need to be fed, and that’s where The Brook’s goal of teaching and equipping these Pastors and their spouses to help them deal with relevant issues in their ministries, church congregations and their lives in general comes into play.

During today’s sessions I had the privilege of spending the time praying for their specific needs and praying for them in general, for their time at the conference. I’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow and Saturday as well. They’re provided with cards to submit prayer requests on, and we pray for them during the sessions, along with, I’ll call them “prayer partners” around the globe, around the clock. Going before our God in prayer for these Pastors and their spouses is a powerful thing and I’m glad to be a part of it. As I was praying during the first session, God put on my heart to pray about how these Pastors and their spouses needed to be ministered to and I thought about the story of Jesus when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11). After the temptations were over verse 11 says “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”. So, Jesus after all that was over needed to be attended to, refreshed and renewed. I pray that these Pastors and their spouses will feel that renewal and refreshment, that they will feel ministered to, and cared for, and that their passions for teaching the Gospel, caring for their congregations, their communities, and their families will be burning hot when they leave on Saturday.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 1 Beauty Of It All

What an incredible first day we had today on our mission trip in Costa Rica. It was a busy day, and a day filled with our eyes and hearts being witness to the beauty of  God‘s creation.

First of all, I spent my morning quiet time in a much different way than normal. At home, I’m usually just sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, praying and reading the bible. Pretty ordinary. But this morning, I decided that the back patio looked like a good place, so I sat out there praying, reading, drinking a cup of coffee (Costa Rican coffee, by the way, good stuff!), taking in some morning sun and the surrounding scenery. As I was finishing up and just kind of looking around, I saw two of the biggest green Macaw’s that I’ve ever seen at the top of this huge tree just a little ways off. They were amazing looking. I’m not one to normally care too much about the birds around me, but the beauty of these two was awesome.

After breakfast we headed out, walking to the Hogar de Vida Orphanage, which is not too far away. As we walked there, we were greeted with the unbelievable beauty of the surrounding country side. Being that we arrived on Sunday night, and it was already dark, we weren’t able to see any of the surrounding  area. But, this morning, there it was. It was as if God, said, “Ha, see what I can do?”. The mountains, the rain forest, and everything around us was breathtaking. We weren’t in Texas anymore.

Mountains Around Atenas

Soon we arrived at Hogar de Vida Orphanage and were greeted by the director, and then led down to a covered pavilion where the children, staff and other volunteers were gathered. Steve led us all in a time of devotion where he talked to the children about how we always hear so many stories about Jesus and what he did while here on earth, but you don’t hear as many stories about what Jesus is doing now. So what is he doing now? I’ll let you think about that one. It was a great time of hearing the Word and prayer.

What God revealed to me there though, was that there was more beauty to behold. The beauty of the hearts of each worker, staff member, volunteer, and of course the beauty of each of the kids, and the smiles that were on their faces. Even in the circumstances that they were in, they smiled, they laughed and played. And as I looked around, I saw the beauty of my own two kids there with me, as my oldest daughter talked to the different kids and my oldest son kicked the soccer ball around with some of them. This place was a true testament to God’s people, sacrificing everything, to care for and love on these little kids.

Mark 9:37 – Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.

Later, in the afternoon we went to a place called Zoo Ave, which is basically a zoo with many of the indigenous animals to Costa Rica. Once again, God had the beauty of His creation on display. We saw many animals none of us have ever seen. Huge Iguana’s roaming free on the paths along with peacocks. All kinds of monkeys swinging from the trees (they were not roaming free). Species of birds that I’ve only heard of on Animal Planet. It was an unbelievable array.

It was a great first day. A day that God decided He was going to show us all kinds of beauty. The beauty of his creation from the landscape and countryside, to the animals of Costa Rica and the beauty of all of those He created in His image from the staff and workers at Hogar de Vida, my own kids, and yes without a doubt, those precious little kids that call Hogar de Vida home.

Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Update 2

Friends,

We have entered the “Home Stretch”, the last ten days before we leave on our mission trip to Costa Rica. Still, I stand amazed at what a wonderful God we serve. I am so thankful for all of those that He has surrounded us with, who are supporting us with their prayers and/or supporting us financially. It is truly humbling to watch His hand move in this way. I look so forward to see how He is going to use me and my two kids for His purposes in Costa Rica, and to see what He has in store to teach us. Our hearts are open and ready to serve however He sees fit, and ready to learn what He wants to teach.

As we enter these final ten days, please consider giving of your time and pray for us leading up to our trip and during our trip, and I also ask that you prayerfully consider supporting us financially. We still have a gap in our funding to close, but I’m confident that God will provide.

Praise our Lord God Almighty.

Rick

 

Re-post of our mission trip letter:

Dear Friends,

I am so excited to share with you an opportunity I have to serve the Lord this summer. I have been invited by The Brook Ministries to work with them for a week, helping at one of their pastor training conferences.

On June 19, I will fly to Costa Rica with my oldest daughter, Ariel, and my oldest son, Austin. Together, we will serve for a week at a pastor’s training conference working behind the scenes to serve the pastors from numerous Costa Rican churches. Ariel and I will return home at the end of one week, but Austin will stay on for another two weeks, helping with the beginning stages of the construction of a youth center called Casa de la Cultura. It will be a place for teenagers to come for discipleship and fellowship. Lord willing, it will help keep teens out of trouble and reduce teen pregnancy.

I am writing to ask for your support in two ways:

  1. We need a prayer team to support me and my family. We will be sending out regular updates from Costa Rica on my blog at https://thereasonsedge.wordpress.com, Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rick.caskey and Twitter at http://twitter.com/rickcaskey, and I need a team of people who will be faithful to pray for me.
  2. We need help funding the trip. Time is becoming critical and we need to have our funding secured in the next couple of weeks. The total is made up of $1,500.00 for Ariel and I, each, and $2,550.00, for Austin. We’ve made it very easy to make donations directly online to The Brook Ministries (www.thebrookministries.org). Click “Donate Online” then select “Caskey Mission Trip” where it says “Please direct my donation to.”

Thank you for any support you can give. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord, and we would love to have you on our team.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at rickcaskey@tx.rr.com or message me on Facebook.

Because He First Love Us,

Rick Caskey

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Update

As the days pass, and our mission trip to Costa Rica gets closer and closer, I’m amazed more and more at what a wonderful God we serve. He has moved mightily during the last few weeks to build our support team. He has provided every step of the way. I am in awe that He would choose to surround us with so many willing to pray for us and provide the means for us to make this trip to serve Him at The Brook Ministries in Costa Rica.

Again, I humbly ask you to consider giving of your time and pray for us during the weeks leading up to our trip and during our trip, and I also ask that you prayerfully consider supporting us financially.

Thank you all and thank our Lord God Almighty.

Rick

Re-post of our mission trip letter:

Dear Friends,

I am so excited to share with you an opportunity I have to serve the Lord this summer. I have been invited by The Brook Ministries to work with them for a week, helping at one of their pastor training conferences.

On June 19, I will fly to Costa Rica with my oldest daughter, Ariel, and my oldest son, Austin. Together, we will serve for a week at a pastor’s training conference working behind the scenes to serve the pastors from numerous Costa Rican churches. Ariel and I will return home at the end of one week, but Austin will stay on for another two weeks, helping with the beginning stages of the construction of a youth center called Casa de la Cultura. It will be a place for teenagers to come for discipleship and fellowship. Lord willing, it will help keep teens out of trouble and reduce teen pregnancy.

I am writing to ask for your support in two ways:

  1. We need a prayer team to support me and my family. We will be sending out regular updates from Costa Rica on my blog at https://thereasonsedge.wordpress.com, Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rick.caskey and Twitter at http://twitter.com/rickcaskey, and I need a team of people who will be faithful to pray for me.
  2. We need help funding the trip. Time is becoming critical and we need to have our funding secured in the next couple of weeks. The entire cost for all of us will be $4,050.00. The total is made up of $1,500.00 for Ariel and I, each, and $2,550.00, for Austin. We’ve made it very easy to make donations directly online to The Brook Ministries (www.thebrookministries.org). Click “Donate Online” then select “Caskey Mission Trip” where it says “Please direct my donation to.”

Thank you for any support you can give. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord, and we would love to have you on our team.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at rickcaskey@tx.rr.com or message me on Facebook.

Because He First Love Us,

Rick Caskey