Is what I would have wrote a week ago. My family has been a tribe of wandering gypsies for the whole of the summer. We’ve been back and forth from the Twin Cities to family and friends all over the state. With each stop, my wife and I grow more and more weary of packing and unpacking our crap. It’s difficult to explain how weary it is to wander. Routines are dissolved. Boundaries are broken. We have no place of our own to establish either of these. Our kids sleep with us every night. There is no space to call our own. At every stop, we are planning our next move. It’s been very unsettling.
On the Bright Side
This has probably been the most fun summer my kids have ever had. At every stop they’ve made lifelong memories and had FUN. I’m reminded of the verse:
9And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
God has blessed us with both friends and family who support us, pray for us, and open their homes to us. This verse has been so true for us. We’ve given up our home to receive so much more than we could ever have dreamed.
Work-ship Week in North Minneapolis
During our stay with my parents on the Canadian Border, we were able to form some wonderful friendships in a short amount of time. These new friends volunteered their vacation time to come from the North Border to the Northside of Minneapolis and help with our 810 Project. We met for 4 days of worship, work, and outreach to the community. Here is a small sample of what happened and where we see the ministry going from here.
Worship. Every Monday from 10-12, we take part in a city-wide worship time focusing on saving lost souls. Why? Because worship is warfare. We are not made of only flesh and blood. There is a spiritual realm, and there is a real enemy who is constantly waging war against our soul whether we realize it our not. Worship is a weapon to drive the enemy of our souls back.
Psalm 100:4Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
When we praise and worship, we enter the Presence of the Living and Holy God. Where He is, the enemy cannot be. “in Him is Light…no darkness at all” (John 1:5).
As a ministry, we are commitment to worship before we do anything. If we fail to enter His presence, we fail. All that we do without Him is useless. “only what’s done in Christ remains 1 Cor 3”.
The rest of Monday was spent in meetings for me, but we met back at the 810 Project home that evening for more worship and intercession over the week.
Worship. We meet at the house for more worship and prayer.
Work. We begin on the outside of the property (pictures below). Pulling 10 year old weeds, tearing down fences, removing unintended compost piles.
Outreach. We intended to partner with a ministry in St. Paul called Godtown. They generally do what we are attempting to do in Minneapolis. They weren’t doing a regular outreach this day though, so we met back at the 810 House for more worship and prayer. We bought some ice cream cones and walked the block talking to homes about Christ and inviting parents and kids back to the house for ice cream. As we scoop it out, we minister God’s love to parents and children.
Testimony: As I came to one neighbors home, abrasive and violent music was playing in the background. Apparently they had just been in an altercation with another neighbor that could have easily ended in murder. The smell of pot was very thick in the air. However, she began inquiring about the Bible I was carrying. This began a conversation which very quickly led to her confessing she was not living right with Christ and in a bad place. She wanted to find a quieter place to pray with me and invited me in.
I’m now in her bedroom (I am knowingly breaking every rule I ever learned about ‘ministry’…don’t ever be alone with a woman, especially in her bedroom. At least I make a point to stand in the doorway so she won’t close it…). She confesses that she knows about God, but in her effort to help others she is being pulled in directions that are not healthy and leading to her destruction. With tears in her eyes, she calls out to the Lord and the Holy Spirit fills that place. With out us asking, the music stops and the trouble makers leave. Without us saying a word, peace fills her heart and her home again. We read Psalm 118 together and she agrees to bring her kids to Bible study the following day.
Worship and Prayer: are you catching a theme here? A good friend drops off her 3 teenage boys for more yard work and cleaning. My father-in-law comes over on his birthday. Many other friends pop over from the neighborhood.
Afternoon Community Bible Study. The lady from the previous night brings her kids over in the afternoon and the kids pick out their own Bibles (another donation from the North Country!). Many of the neighbors we’ve met over the Summer are now coming over to chat and see the place.
Testimony: Last month, C came over looking for work. We prayed and ministered to him and he felt God’s presence. However, he didn’t want to give his life to Christ because he needed a job and wanted to quit smoking first. Whatever. Anyway, I was able to give him my name and number for job references. He found a job this week and is very excited about continuing his prayers. Every time I see him now, he wants to pray with me. He wants to quit smoking and wants his life to be right with Christ. He testified to me that he sees the difference between our place and where he’s staying as the difference between light and dark. Sounds about right to me.
This is really what the house is for. We’re not a job placement center. We’re not a child care. We’re not a lot of things. The only thing we strive for is the Presence of God. We simply need, want, desire, and will lay our lives down for His Presence. He’s worth more than anything. Our prayer has constantly been that God would establish a place for Himself where people could meet Him face to face for themselves. That’s all that matters. Once people meet Him, everything else will fall into place. “Seek the Lord with all your heart…then all these things will be added unto you…Mt 6:33” I believe this week is a little sample or gift from God to us about what could continue to happen if we continue to seek His face.
North Minneapolis is under a curse. The land is desolate. Wars, murder, rape, violence, theft, debauchery are everywhere. The land is ruined. However, God has promised that if we humble ourselves and seek His face that He will hear from heaven, and turn and heal our land. With that in mind, we decided to do a house cleansing Wed night.
House Cleansing: is where we stand on behalf on the sins of our people and our land and repent. Repentance brings deliverance and salvation. Several neighbors where still hanging out as we began the teaching. Step 1 of the teaching is personal consecration; inspecting our own hearts for hidden sin. There was a lesbian couple there, and it was interesting to watch their countenance change as we read through scriptures on sin and its consequences to: our bodies, our relationship to God, and its effects on others around us (including our neighbors). One lady became more introverted with her head bowed. The other got too uncomfortable and had to get up and walk away for a while. It’s always surprising to me how many people I meet have a reverence for the Lord, but are not walking with Him. Their only experience with Him usually is dead religion and they don’t know how to respond to a living, loving God.
We finish the teaching on House Cleansing and pray over the home using oil as a symbol of God’s presence. A neighbor wants more oil to pray over her own home with. C from the block is there too, and he stays and asks questions about how we can allow ‘sinners’ to be around while we pray over our home. I explain that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, and we get fixed by being in God’s presence. Not by staying away from it. Our home will always welcome everyone who wants to come. We trust God is big enough to speak to them and guide them in Holiness.
We say goodbye to 1 group of friends from the Northborder and hello to another.
Worship and Prayer. Throughout the day more people show up to help. Our realtor from the house sale comes to pull staples. Friends from college come to hang and pray. Neighbors come to hang out. Kids are everywhere. We try to do a short Bible study with all of them, but eventually I do have to lead them back to their homes. [If anyone wants to minister more to kids in the area through consistent Bible Studies there is ample opportunity here!]
Another lady from down the road comes by looking for work to feed herself and her daughter. We pray, and she feels the Presence of God and begins to cry.
There are many people in this world who aim to take advantage of kindness. With this lady, my first reaction is to pray for her and send her on her way. We’re not a food shelf. We’re not a daycare. But as we’re praying, the Lord reminds me of James “what good is it to say ‘be well’, but do nothing’?”
James 2: Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
I don’t want to establish a routine of people dropping off their kids, or people coming for handouts. But if I have a sister or brother in need and I have the means to help, what Biblical right to I have to withhold what God has freely given me to them?
My wife takes her to buy groceries. C is still hanging around. He has no food and his job doesn’t start till Monday. I have $4.
My cynical nature says: “This won’t even help. Nothing will really matter. They won’t really love Jesus in the end. They’re just going to use me until I have nothing left, then they’ll find someone else to use.”
My experience with humans leads me to believe that this pattern is true. My experience with Christ tells me that transformation is also true. I’ll need to keep working out my approach to this, all I can say for now is that I was convicted for my attitude in prayer yesterday. James is pretty clear. I’m not to hold on to what I have. All I have is Christ’s and belongs to Him. My wife, my home, my kids, my money, all of it is from Him and belongs to Him.
We are building a house of worship, prayer, and discipleship. We will worship and pray. We will go out to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will come back to teach other how to grow in His love and Grace and eventually teach others to do the same. This is the 810 Project. It is tiring, but it is fun and full of joy. The fact that anyone would show up to help with this is testimony enough for me that God is up to something. This isn’t our plan or our design. We have simply surrendered our entire being to God, and this is where He’s put us.
Want to join us? Come on over! We’re there most days.
Want to help?
- Pray. Seriously. Would you? Pray for us. Pray for the neighborhood. Pray for God’s heart to be revealed to us and those we minister to. If you would like more personal updates or would be willing to interceded for us on a regular basis, please let us know at email@example.com
- Give. We need the electric and plumbing redone. Pray for favor with the contractors I’m meeting with, but would you also give towards the cost? One bid came in a $5000 for the electric. I’m meeting with a plumber today. The permits are around $200/piece. Then labor. Then materials. If you know someone who is licensed and would volunteer towards this, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to give, go to www.damascusway.com and click the donate button. Make sure to use the 810 project drop down.
- Volunteer. Our next volunteer date is pending the electric and plumbing work. But you can always stop by and pray!
Photos from the Workship Week
Duet 30 11“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. 12It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
15“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17“But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
19“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. Thisb is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”