“Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”
I had Derrick read this passage to me in the car on our way to fix some things for a friend. An hour earlier, I was about to leave for her house when I had an impression to go see if he was free to help me. I’m not going to say “I heard God say: go check on Derrick!,” it was just a thought I had in my brain; which is often how God speaks to me. Even if it wasn’t God, it’s our general philosophy to seek out ways to involve the neighborhood in our lives.
Miah had just left to take Derrick’s younger brother swimming with our kids. As it turns out, his brother had taken their only key and he was locked out! He gladly hopped in my car and within seconds we were talking about the meaning of life.
We talked about what leads to happiness and joy, and what happens if those things are taken away. It was a really deep conversation, and as we arrived at my friends house to hang curtains, it became very spiritual. We parked for probably a half hour, and I could feel God’s tangible presence fill my car as I stated, “Jesus is the only way to have lasting peace. Everything else can be taken away, but He never leaves us or forsakes us.” As he read Hebrews and explained it back to me in his own words, he was struck with who Jesus is and what exactly He did for us on the cross.
“Wow, Mr. Tim. This makes me want to read the Bible more often,” was his honest reply. We eventually got out of the car and learned the basics of how to operate a drill, stud finder, and leveler; all new experiences for him.
This is what I love about what Jesus is doing here. He’s placed us around wonderful neighbors, and it’s been our joy to share our lives, networks, and resources with them. I want Derrick to see what’s possible beyond our neighborhood. From what he’s been told, success simply means having money. I want Derrick to see that success is so much more than the amount of ‘stuff’ we can accumulate. Jesus puts it this way: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?…Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
I want Derrick to see what it looks like to have a car, go to work, love his wife, and pursue his dreams. This life is more than just surviving a struggle; it is about pursuing and walking out our God given purpose. The way God has set everything up, this is often done in relationship with others. This past month has been a ton of fun sharing our lives with neighbors and friends, and we are so grateful for your unending support and encouragement on this journey.
Fishing for Religion [link to full story]
Speaking of new experiences, my friend Steve invited a few of us out ice fishing this past month. I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun fishing experiences I’ve ever had! The curiosity, wonder, and joy that this experience brought our neighbors will remain with us forever. I still smile as I think about our conversations, their first fish catch, and random comments of wonder at a new world. Everyone caught a fish, and everyone tried something new. Thank you, Steve!
Valentines Outreach [link to full story]
Each year we gather to hand out Valentines from Jesus to our neighbors. We get about 100 roses, candies, and Valentine letters with a simple message from Jesus and our phone number for follow up. For Miah and I, our favorite part is having our kids come with to share Christ’s love with others. This year we had about 12-15 adults and several children walk up and down Broadway Avenue sharing Christ’s love. There’s nothing like seeing people’s faces light up when they receive love from a child. Thank you, Jesus for each life that you touched through these families!
Our regular Thursday outreaches continue. As we’re faithful, Jesus continues to show up and prove He’s alive. Last week I happened to be in the exact place at the exact time I was 6 months ago when I met our neighbor Teresa. Six months ago, Teresa’s family was moving in to their new home after being homeless. I don’t know all the circumstances around their ordeals, but the day we met her would have been her sons birthday. He passed away a few months prior, and would have turned 11 that day.
Last week, our paths crossed at just the right time. We chatted and prayed and caught up. She’s still struggling with her dreams, and was eager to pray more for God’s comfort. If you remember, please pray for her and her family.
Every Thursday night is Antioch night. Each week has its challenges and it’s joys; but we are mostly overwhelmed by the depth of love these kids have for each other and their curiosity for the things of God. Miah and I can honestly say that we love these children deeply and feel so privileged to be part of their lives.
We will be in need of more volunteers as we add a Tuesday group in April. If you would be interested in investing in the lives of our future leaders, let me know! Each week consists of a meal, Bible Study, homework help, games, and relationship building.
Other updates & Prayer Requests:
- Garage rehab will begin shortly. We hope to use this space to add some dance and art ministry this Summer, along with allowing for a larger worship space for our weekly meetings and daily times of prayer. If you feel led to give towards this with time or other resources, we would be blessed.
- Men’s Bible study starting in April as well. We’ll be doing a test run as a satellite for the BSF curriculum, finishing up their study on John. If you know anyone that would like to take part, just put them in touch with me.
- Another Antioch youth night starts Tuesdays in April. Pray for resources and volunteers, as well as great relationships with our neighbors.
- New residents will be moving in upstairs soon. Pray for growth in their lives and Kingdom impact.
How can we pray for you? Miah and I love to pray with you and for you. Let us know how!