"And they shall...renew the ruined cities."-Isaiah 61:4
We are moving towards the end of our year long restoration of the old Horseman's store that we have had the honor of rescuing from decay and resurrected it into a place to gather for worship, teaching and by the grace of God many more hundreds of lives transformed by the Spirit, gospel and body of Jesus. Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord called the people of God in Babylon to: "Build yourselves houses and dwell in them, plant gardens and eat the fruit of them, take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there and do not be diminished."(Jer. 29:5-6).
Seeing the work of the gospel expanding and growing is exciting to watch. Hearing a young adult confesses that the gospel has captured his heat in a way that studying the great philosophers has never done and how he is experiencing the LIFE of the word is fruit of the Spirt at work. Welcoming people from the neighborhood for the first time and hearing them try to express how the Lord touched them in the service is the sweet fruit of labor and prayer. Holding a young woman who is recovering from drugs and facing challenging times is soul moving work. Seeing the joy on a refugees face as she is loved, welcomed and served in her first days here in America makes the hard days worth it. Being embraced by a child who doesn't speak your language but can feel your love is holy. Laying hands on an elderly man who is fighting for life in the pew that you got for free off of Craig's List is powerful.
Seeing things that you wept for in the basement of a YWAM building in 1999 in Amsterdam Holland is confirmation that God still speaks to listening hearts. Hearing a young girl tell you that she loves the song you have been playing that speaks of God doing greater things in the days ahead...is evidence that the children shall truly lead you. Sometimes you get a chance in life to stand in a moment and truly see God's kingdom coming...those are gifts worth remembering.
In the midst of all the hard work, the tears, the stress, the failure, the attacks and and the overwhelming odds...you can still find yourself amazed by grace. It breaks my heart that so many people malign the church, the ministry and the work of God these days. So many times I heard about how it can't be done, it will destroy your family, ruin your marriage and bury you under the weight of the enemy. But I am here to testify that God still crushes satan under the feet of his church (Rom 16:20). If you are out there and wrestling with the dream of planting a church...don't listen to the nay-sayers...yes, it will kill parts of you but what comes alive is worth more than you ever will lose.