Here are some pictures from my trip to Detroit to serve the homeless. We were surprise to see another group with a bus serving too. We served some at our usual location, but had some extra supplies and went to the Vetrans Center in Detroit. One homeless person even came up to me all excited and asked for prayer. She said, "pray for me! I have an opportunity to get off of the streets!" That is my prayer for all of these who by some misfortune, addiction or by choice live on the streets.
Have you ever stood on the top of a mountain or a hill? You can look all around and see the glory of all God's creation. I always feel as if I am on top of the world at those moments. In the distance is another mountain top that is even taller. Can I reach it? I dream of jumping from one mountain top to the other, avoiding the great depths of the valley and the struggles that lie beneath. But alas, we cannot avoid the valley. That's how I feel after great moments on the support raising trail as I seek to find ministry partners that will enable me to "do" ministry on campus. I am so anxious to begin ministry on campus, but I have to get through the valley first.
I loved visiting my friends at Open Arms in Belleville on Sunday. I love speaking in front of others too. That is my mountain top of support raising. But then I feel the slow and steady descent into the valley. The mundain daily tasks of writing letters, making phone calls. Don't get me wrong, I love talking with my friends and other new believers about the cause of which I am called to serve the LORD. But it takes focus, endurance and continued guidance and prayer to the LORD, as he directs my path. It's difficult to submit to being in our home office all day from morning until night, when I long to be on the mountain top.
The other part of my weakness is small talk. I get so focused on the "deep things" of God that I sometimes lose my joy in the midst of what is seemingly "small." Didn't Christ say that the kingdom of God is small like yeast in a batch of dow, or as small as a mustard seed? (Luke 13:18-21). Yes, things may start small, but with the daily commitment to being faithful to the tasks of "today" something unexpected begins to happen. A tree is grown, a relationship is made, a home is built, support is raised and the Kingdom of God grows and matures! God's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts like our thoughts. His ways are above our ways and his thoughts are above our thoughts. So great is the Name fo the LORD!
Today, I am rejoicing in the small things of God!
For the last year or so I've been meeting with a young man, who is actually attending Washtenaw Community College. Since his schedule is tight I decided I would meet him on campus so that we could have our meeting. We discuss life, goals, faith and ministry and pray for each other. As we were finishing up prayers and getting ready to leave. A middle aged woman shouted over to us. "Can I get some prayer?!" She looked tired and worn from worry. I said "sure come on over." She pulled up a chair and clumsily brought a stack of papers that half spilled on the floor. I picked them up and handed them back to her. She showed me photographs of her young children. She said, "these pictures are old but I love to hold on to them." I could tell that there was probably more to this woman's story than I could perceive, but she continued to share random thoughts and facts about her life, that seemed dis-focused, yet sincere.
She was a messianic Jewish woman who had been in an abusive relationship many years ago. She got out of the marriage, but in turn her three children headed to separate foster care homes. Why? I don't know that part of the story. But she continued to share random facts about her children. Then she abruptly asked me, "will you attend a hearing with me tomorrow?" "I don't have anyone there who will support me." She seemed so desperate, but I felt a tension between compassion and skepticism in the matter. I told her, "I just met you, and am willing to pray for you. Now what's your request?" She hesitated, then showed us a document that she was trying to write for her court hearing. She was trying to regain visitation rights with one of her children. So for some time, TD and I sat and listened and offered some advice on the document. Then I brought us back to the offer of prayer. She started to ramble some words in God's direction, yet not really directly. So I offered again, "may I pray for you?" She agreed.
I prayed for her situation and that God would lead her in truth. Before I got too far in my prayer, she started to blurt out other requests for prayer. I listened for a moment then bowed my head and prayed again. In the prayer I quoted scriptures from Philippians 4, 1 Corinithians 12, Ephesians 2... The LORD's Word is powerful and is like a double edged sword (Hebrews 4:12-14), it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." That is what happened to this woman at the atrium. As I shared the word she got excited. She said, "what?! what was that?! say it again!" Something had hit her. Something had penetrated the misery and sorrow and joy spurred out. I shared with her that in Christ we are one body. One part does not say to another, "away with you! You are not needed!" No! Instead the body (if you are in Christ) loves and cares for its other members. The woman at the atrium was a messianic Jewish woman. The foster care family of her one son were Christian. They should have everything in common in Christ, even if there were mistakes in the past. There is love and forgiveness in Christ! This was a revelation to her. I don't believe she knew the scriptures well, beyond understanding Jesus "is" the messiah that the Jews have been waiting for. But the word of God does not return void. She wrote down the scriptures that I shared with her and I asked her to read Ephesians 2 as well.
TD and I hadn't planned on this encounter. It wasn't on my schedule. However, God had other plans. I believe this is only the beginning of what ministry will be like at Washtenaw. We like Jesus and his disciples are to "go" out into the world and make disciples. There are so many hurting people out there that need Jesus. The cults are out in full force. When the Son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?
Thank you for your prayers and support. I am starting to see some fruit as some partners are now starting to support me in my efforts in campus ministry.
Here are some prayer requests and petitions:
1. Continue to pray for my family - health, unity, protection and provision. Also that they all would draw near to Jesus in whatever circumstance they find themselves.
2. Praise God for the encouragement from partners who are supporting me.
3. Praise God for an encounter with a messianic jewish lady on the campus of Washtenaw. (I will write a separate blog on this).
4. God has been speaking to me about being "watchful" and being "full of courage." Please pray for me as Paul states in Ephesians 6:10-20.
5. Pray for Nathan and Susanna (Jehovah's Witnesses) who I along with Pastor Dan and Mike Moses talked with for an hour yesterday. May the Truth set them free! Also pray that I grow in knowledge and in truth as the Lord has been using these last several months to prepare me for what is ahead.
6. Pray that I rest well at night. I've had some bad dreams and it has disturbed my sleep.
7. Pray for my wife Laina as her work has been pretty stressful lately.
8. Pray for the campus of Washtenaw Community college. Openness to the gospel and that God's plan will be made known on how to reach those on the campus.
9. Pray for InterVarsities Leaders. For wisdom as they plan training events for the staff.
10. Let me know what your prayer requests are too in the comments below or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your testimony? What's your story about how Jesus has effected your life? Has campus ministry had an influence on you? Please share your comments in a brief statement. Give God the glory!
Periodically I will post prayer requests regarding my ministry, personal requests and for the students I am ministering to. I appreciate if you and/or your church could lift these up in prayer (as appropriate).
1. Pray for my family - health, unity, growth in faith and salvation for those who don't believe or are walking away from God.
2. Pray for my support raising efforts. I need $63,000 of support to begin minstering on campus at Washtenaw. Pray that I won't be discouraged, but continue to trust that God will provide.
3. Pray for the Washtenaw students and staff to have hearts ready and prepared to respond to God's gift of salvation from sin, death and the devil.
4. Pray for my wife Laina as she has been sick and stressed with work. (I really want to relieve some of the financial stress off her).
5. Pray for me as I begin refereeing soccer as a side job. I'm a bit nervous.
6. Pray that I gain insight and revelation into the word of God, that I may teach faithfully and accurately to those entrusted in my care. I take this very seriously.
7.. Pray for Laina and I as we begin to make decisions about our church home. We have been visiting a church called, Harvest Bible Chapel in Canton.
8. Pray for the Homeless ministry that I have been volunteering with for almost 6 months. Each visit is more challenging.
Heavenly Father, You are Holy and Just. You are the maker of ALL things and we humbly submit to Your will. Thank you for sending Jesus to take our punishment of our sins, Father! There are many more people who need to know of your love for them. I am asking that you send me and others to share with them! As you have gifted us LORD, help us to use the gifts that You entrusted to us to serve, love and care for others who do not yet know you. Quicken your Spirit Lord Jesus that Your body, the church will rise up together with one voice that will honor and worship you. Have mercy Jesus! You promised that we could approach your throne and offer requests to you. Now LORD provide for your servants the resources that they need to do your work, that many will be saved. Do it again LORD, shake the places where your people bow down and pray. Do it again LORD, the miracles, signs and wonders that glory your Name! Thank you for calling us brothers and sisters and not letting us die in our sin. You are our Savior Jesus! All glory to you! Amen.
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...