Sunday, September 12, 2010

There were five of us. Five of us, with eight left over sandwiches from the campus restaurant to feed the homeless in the streets of Chicago. Conflicting feelings of nerves and excitement filled us. Like the prayer for the two small fish and five loaves, we prayed, "Lord, multiply our efforts." We earnestly prayed for direction as well as a sense of urgency for the Gospel message.

We broke up in teams and went our separate ways. As other team headed toward the brownline, my team asked me, "where should we go?" I thought about all the alleys and bridges crowded with the homeless, but Michigan Avenue was placed on my heart. "But Lord, that really doesn't make sense," I thought. Michigan Avenue is the wealthiest part of Chicago, but regardless, we listened and blindly walked in that direction, unaware of what to expect. We walked about a half of a mile without seeing one homeless person. We kept walking. A mile, with still no sign. At mile and a half I was concerned. I had never walked in the streets of Chicago with out seeing anyone homeless. Just as we were looking for a place to cross the street to turn around, about to give up our efforts, I spotted a homeless man: John.

We approached him and offered him a meal. He gladly accepted and hastily took a bite of his cheeseburger. We simply told him that we wanted to give him some help and a taste of the hope we have received. Then we asked if we could pray with him. His eyes fell, he raised his withered hands to hide his tears. In between his broken sobs he whispered, "I was about to give up...I was about to give up." The three of us Moody students fell to our knees, burdened for his brokenness. We took this time to go to the Lord and lift him in prayer, calling on our Savior for deliverance.

After our prayer we shared the Gospel, telling John of God's heart for the poor and needy. We emphasized that we all fall short and fail, and without the Lord, we are ALL broken. Only the redemptive blood of Jesus is enough to save us from our sin. John's sobs grew louder as we asked him if he wanted to invite Jesus into his life. He nodded his head and we silently waited for John to ask the Lord into his life in his own words.

About 40 seconds past and with his sobs now under control, he fervently prayed, "Jesus. I need you. Save me. I cant live without you. Make me a good person. I believe in your Son, and I know you love me and that Jesus died for me. Come into my life. Come into my life." His raw, emotional, genuine prayer sent a heaviness in my soul as I realized the eternal impact of his words. When I looked up from praying, I saw a new brother in Christ, redeemed in the blood of Jesus. We encouraged him in his decision and told him the power of prayer. We asked him for his email, and asked him where we he spends his days so we could reconnect with him. We also connected him with a church and a homeless ministry.We looked at the time and realized that it was now 12:10 am. We left in awe of what we had just witnessed. The Holy Spirit was at work.

We prayed as we walked back to campus, both aloud and in our hearts. When I got back to my room, I really spent some time to reflect on John's conversion. As I looked back, in hindsight I saw the Lord's hand working in my night from beginning to end. The Lord gave us a small team to make us weak and to rely on Him. He heard our fervent prayers of blessing. He placed Michigan Avenue on our hearts, and he lead us John. He gave us a divine appointment. As we were about to give up, God brought John to us, and as John was about to give up, He brought us to John.

so let us think....

I have learned that when we allow the Lord to direct our path, there is nothing coincidental; everything is a God-incidence. On Friday night, Christ showed me this reality in my own life.

When God puts people in your path, it is not a coincidence! Share the Gospel message often, pray for divine appointments with people who are ready to accept the Lord, plants seeds in peoples life, and live your life as an example of God's saving grace.

"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:15 b

It was not a coincidence that I met John, but it was a God-incidence.

"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? ...So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Romans 10:14-17

As camp came to a close, I realized I had come out of the summer with more than a modest check, instead, I had left with a new appreciation and passion for the Lord's work. A passage that the Lord had really placed on my heart was 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

12Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

The Lord has taught me a lot about respecting those in authority as well as those who work with me. My prayer is that I would place this into practice at Moody. Summer has come to a end, my the lessons I have learned are coming with me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So, I am at camp, and from the moment I stepped on this camp campus, I realized that when I applied here, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I am working everyday from 7am-10pm with one afternoon off. This is not what I expected, but this is what I needed. Everyday I am encouraged and expected to selflessly serve others and to focus on the advancing of His kingdom. I have been consumed in this whirlwind of serving every hour of everyday and preparing for further service this year. With only a half hour of time before bed every night, I have been trying to fit in my devotions before lights out, but already, I am feeling drained and needing to be refreshed by my Savior.

Last night, my storm caught up with me. I was woken up in the middle of the night and moved to the first floor of my building because of a tornado warning. There, our leadership told us to fill the bathrooms because it was the safest part of the building. While waiting out this storm in the middle of the night missing much needed sleep, I found the renewal I needed. There on the floor of the boys bathroom, we sang hymns to Our Lord and Praised Him for what He is doing in us. The boys bathroom became my Sanctuary: the place I reconnected with my Savior. (gross, but beautiful).

Here I am learning how to serve selflessly, constantly focus on my Savior, and find time with my Lord at every chance.

Just an update.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

And the Journey Begins....

Finally, mostly because of the pressure from friends and family, I have made this blog. This way, all of you can know what is going on in my life, both in thought and action. I have carefully considered how I should start my first post. I've reflected on some reoccurring themes of my life: contentment, purity, forgiveness, love etc. Although I realize that any of these universal themes would be more than adequate for this simple blog, I have chosen a topic that I have been on an unwavering quest to cultivate.

Early on in my Christian faith, I began my earnest search for wisdom. Throughout the years, God has taught me many lessons and given me passages from His Word to encourage me in this quest.
As my school year at Moody Bible Institute has come to a close, I enter my summer break with 30 units worth of knowledge. Though I will be out of the classroom this summer and working at Gull Lake Christian Camps, my goal is to practically use what I have been blessed to learn throughout this year and to grow in wisdom through practical ministry experience.

In a way, this blog is the means to keep track of my progress; a place to record the lessons I learn. My hope is that my life and this blog would pour out heavenly wisdom on all I encounter.

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

My prayer is that this blog will genuinely show where I am in life, provide encouragement, be bold in truth, and centered in peace-loving sincerity.

God Bless.