James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Matthew 5:2 “And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…”
Sharing God’s Love on Valentines Day
On Valentines Day, my family gathered with about 25 other messengers at the 810project house with a mission: to deliver the Love of Christ to our community. Each messenger was armed with long stemmed roses, a Valentines Day card from Jesus, candy, and other Gospel material. We divided into groups and hit up our neighbors on the coldest Valentines Day in recent memory.
Over 100 neighbors were reached with God’s love. Two of them decided to surrender their life to Christ that day. What an amazing Valentine! To have your heart meet the heart of a loving Father on a day dedicated to St. Valentine, who also loved Jesus more than his own life.
[name changed]. Mary was one of those. She lives in a very spiritually dark apartment complex (much illegal activity here), but we met a believing neighbor on a past outreach this Summer. He allowed us in to the complex where our team met Mary. She had just lost her husband due to alcoholism. She was resistant to the Gospel at first, but allowed our team to pray for her hurting back. She described heat touching her back and removed a brace she had been wearing. A messenger from Trinity Works asked if she was ready to talk to Jesus now? (the answer was yes…)
My wife and I took her out to tea this past week. We spent a half hour in our van, listening to her grief and her loss. This is the absolute truth: if God isn’t real, then we have no hope in this world at all. We were compelled to sit with her and listen. And when she was through sharing, we sat longer. We asked God to visit us and bring comfort. His amazing Glory filled our van and we just all sat there in His Presence for a long time.
I was reminded of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn…they will be comforted,” Jesus said. As we came in the store and began sipping our tea, she laid out practical needs for a job. We prayed. The next day, she was hired. Jesus is so real, so alive, so passionate, and such a good Father. If we ask for bread, He will not give us a stone. I am writing this after dropping her off at her second day on the job.
Please pray for her. She is having difficulty understanding the Bible. We listened to Psalms 1-7 on the way to work today, and she seemed to get a little more out of that. Pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate the Words of Life to her so that she can bear fruit: fruit that remains for eternity.
Pray also for Brian. He was the other who prayed to surrender his heart Valentines Day. He was helping a friend jump start a vehicle in the cold. I explained how the 2 batteries are a symbol of God and us. 1 is completely dead. 1 is fully alive. The connection point to life (jumper cables) is Jesus Christ. He had difficulty understanding surrender and trust in God. In his own words, “I’m just trying to survive.” Pray that he will fully come to trust in the Power of Jesus Christ.
Our partnership with Antioch is blossoming. We’ve moved in to their ministry home on Freemont Ave, a few blocks north of the recent police shooting; and 4 blocks from the 810 project. Since moving in, many of the children have been stopping by more regular for hot chocolate and to hang out. Every time we hear a knock, my wife and I look at each other, take a deep breath, say a silent and quick prayer, then open the door to these kids who are essentially orphans. We know we’re supposed to have ‘boundaries’, but what do you say to a kid whose walking around in a sweat shirt in 0 degree weather? Not to sensationalize or anything, but the reality is that some of the parents are in jail or on drugs. Our family structure is foreign to them, I think.
I’m a white man, who fell in love with an African American woman. We have tan babies. We love Jesus and do our best to love each other well. It’s a mystery to them. Some have asked me, “why’d you marry her?” To which I respond, “Because she the greatest woman on the planet. She’s beautiful and kind and loves Jesus with all her heart.”
We had a chance last week to have 3 of them in our kitchen with us. Conversation turned to hearing God and knowing His voice. “How do you do that?”, was the basic question. All three of them lined up and said a simple prayer about ‘inviting Jesus into their heart’, then waited and listened for several minutes with me. They each stated the felt something in their heart. One said, “It feels like I’m walking on air!”
Do I think that their lives are forever changed and all is well with the world now? Nope. Not even close. I understand that they are 7,8, and 10 and living in a very dark world. But I also know that they understand there is a Father in Heaven who is real and who loves them. My hope is to love them unconditionally and to see them the way Christ sees them. I believe Christ’s love doesn’t have conditions or require behavior modification to understand. While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. I want to learn to love in the midst of a dark, scary, and unwieldy world. I am in love with God. He is in love with my neighbor. The one without a job. The one without a father. The one who is addicted to substance. All of them. His heart is broken for them, and His desire is to restore them unto Himself.
Who am I to judge? Do I give conditionally? Do I protect myself and my family to avoid pain? The sad truth is, it is my nature to do so. This is a topic for another day: Loving in the midst of pain and unmet expectations. It is impossible. But with God; all things are possible.
That the Holy Spirit would grab these kids lives and set them on fire for Him and His Holiness. That they would be the ones who change the world through their radical faith and devotion to Christ. These are the world-changers. Jesus sees them and loves them. His power will be displayed through them. I want our home and ministry to be a furnace of prayer, unto the revelation of an Exalted Jesus. I want men and women, young and old to behold a Risen Christ: Beautiful, Majestic, and worthy of Fear, Awe, and my life. Prayer changes the atmosphere. Prayer rips the veil between this world and the other. Prayer brings His Presence, and His Presence changes everything.
Also, a police officer was shot down the road over the past week. Please pray for peace, safety, and that roots of bitterness and retaliation would not be able to grow. Holy Spirit, bring peace and reconciliation.
The electrical has passed inspection! We’ll be insulating this weekend. Once we pass insulation inspection, we can begin hanging sheet rock. Then it’s time to mud, tape, and sand and install flooring and appliances! Praise God for His faithfulness and provision!!!
Please pray that the house will be used for His Glory. There are so many needs in our community. I would love to start an Alpha program soon, along with other Bible Studies and small groups. I need a community of helpers to make this happen. I need helpers for the sheet rocking, ect; but even more, I need committed people to help pray and teach and walk through life with our neighbors. Pray, pray, pray!!! please? 🙂
Bless you all!
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