Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reflections from the National Marriage Summit

It’s been awhile since my last blog…but I need to catch you up on something really significant that happened two weeks…first for me, but also I believe for the betterment of our nation. Dec. 3-4, I had the privilege of attending the once-a-year National Marriage Summit…and no I’m not married yet. So what was a young guy like me doing there? Good question. Well, to start, my dad happens to be the chairman of the Marriage CoMission, a ministry that helps network many of the marriage and family champions across America from all sectors of society. This CoMission organizes a one-a-year Summit, inviting 200 or so of today’s key marriage and family leader for 3 days of working together. This year, my dad invited United Pursuit Band to come and lead worship for the morning devotional time, but also take part in the actual meetings.

Wow. That’s a good way to sum up the 3 days. I experience such synergy and collaboration as so many amazing visionary leaders spent the 3 days making what I would call a battle plan to see marriage and family values restored to our nation. Every single person at the summit is involved in some active way in fighting for marriage and family, whether in Hollywood fighting for movies with strong values, authors, conference speakers, business leaders, ect. But the beautiful part in the whole week was seeing all these leaders come together, and how the Body of Christ is SO much stronger when we come together.

Since my time at the Summit, I’ve been doing lots of thinking. Those 3 days really stirred up so much inside me. I’m starting to see how the foundation of our nation was built on God, and directly downstream is the covenant of marriage leading to strong families, strong families leading to strong generations. I can’t speak for all of my generation, but I know that so many young people today have totally lost the vision for a strong marriage. They haven’t seen it, so why would they believe in something that they’ve only seen fail?

“Without vision, the people parish.” In many ways, I believe our nation has lots its vision for marriage. Without strong marriages, our nations will cease to be what makes AmericaAmerica”, because marriage is the foundation which flows life and love. When children are born out of the covenant of marriage, they immediately have something that us humans crave…unconditional love. Notice how I said covenant…not “institution” – Covenant births unconditional love. The Institution of marriage is a counterfeit to the real thing; a false document that promises everything but insures nothing. I see the marriage covenant can be summed up like this, “I promise to love you as long as I live, even when you fail me the most, when you disappoint me, when you betray me.” I’m starting to see that covenant love has factored in betrayal. Covenant love isn’t “me,me,me”, its being a gift to your spouse, and even bigger; your passing on a heritage to your children, and there children, and beyond. This covenant love is the fertilizer of life, hope, and happiness. When children are born into this kind of love, they can fully live out their destiny.

Right now, I feel the prevailing wind of brokenness sweeping our nation…year after year of seeing marriage after marriage fail and why would anyone want to be join the list? If the next generation looses the vision for a strong, healthy marriage and family, then all our brokenness will only worsen. We look instead to our government to solve our problems. We long for hope and change, but I believe that unless we start with ourselves and foundation of what our whole nation is build upon, than nothing will change.

BUT, there is hope. We serve a God of restoration. He is really good at taking all our bad decisions, and turning them into something beautiful. Two weeks ago, I got another glimpse of hope for our nation concerning marriage and family. I saw the Church come together, not just church leader to church leader, but the diverse, multi-talented, beautiful, bride of Christ spread out in all facets of society…and I know God was smiling down from Heaven. His presence permeated the meeting room the whole 3 days. God has invited us to dream with Him, and see His Kingdom come into the broken places of this world. And I know that looks like seeing marriages restored. It looks like children being raised in loving homes. And I know that I know that I’m going to be apart of this…what about you?

This is part one to an ongoing dialog I want to start about marriage and family from the perspective of a young person yet to be married. Keep an eye out for my next blog in the next week. Blessings!

Monday, August 11, 2008

judged by the sun's rays

Lately, I've been reading the book of Philippians. Its real short, so I've been reading it everyday for the past 5 days. God's really speaking through it, so I thought I might share a few things that I've never seen before.

What so cool about the bible, is that as time goes on, you get new "lenses" to look through as you read the bible; things that you've never seen before JUMP out of the page. Often times life experiences go a long way to shaping these lenses. Lately, the "lens" of love has been jumping out of the page. I went and saw Heidi Baker speak this past Sunday, and I'm reminded of the simplicity of the gospel: loving God, and from the place of intimacy and friendship with Him, loving others...simply overflowing with His love. Love looks like something. Love has teeth.

Here's some of the background of Paul's letter to the saints in Phillipi:

One of the things Paul was confronting in this letter mindset that you have to work for righteousness. People were believing in Jesus, but still living in the law, meaning they were "doing stuff" to try to get God's acceptance. Paul called these leaders, people who lead others into the law again "dogs" - beware of them.

Paul contrasts these "dogs" with his heart's cry-
"that I might be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that is through faith in Christ." He said they preach the gospel out of strife. He also wrote this letter, because there was division creeping in the church, and he wanted people to be of one mind...the mind of Christ. And with the lens of love, Christ's mind is love...radical, turn-the-world-up-side-down love.

Ok, with that background, here's the verse I was mediating on: this is Paul's prayer for the saints at Phillipi, so its a good prayer:)

"And this I pray: that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the WHICH ARE fruits of righteousness WHICH ARE BY JESUS CHRIST, to the glory and praise of God."

Key word:
"Abound" - be in excess, superfluous, abundance.

Ok, so here are my thoughts. This isn't THE interpretation of this verse...this is just what hit my heart when was mediating on these verses.

What does it meant to abound in love in knowledge and discernment.? I was thinking about Jesus, and how He knows everything about me. You could say He has full knowledge of me...all my weaknesses, the secrets of my heart. Even with all that knowledge, He loves me!! His love is abundant towards me!!! So when Paul is praying that our love with abound in knowledge and discernment, i think it can mean that even when we see weaknesses in people, people's crap, when they hurt us, when they don't return our love....when we have this "knowledge and discernment of people.......AND WE STILL LOVE!! In fact, our love abounds all the more! Discernment is so important, but If i see pain and weakness and sin in people, and this discernment pushes me away from them, then I'm NOT abounding in love. I'm instead judging.

If I'm to approve the things that are excellent, then the most excellent thing is love. Paul says its the most excellent way. God is love....if this love fills me, then I WILL BE SINCERE - the word sincere means" judged by the sunlight." how cool is that!! - if i am filled with love, i will be filled with will pour into my life, and darkness must flee.

Being filled with love keeps us from holding offense. Offense simply means choosing to withhold love. So abounding in love causes us to radiate with light, and to live un-offended. The fruits of righteousness will overflow in my life if I'm abounding in love. This righteousness comes from Christ. Not by works.

When Jesus walked the earth, people around Him felt totally safe and accepted, and yet the found the power to change: the lady caught in adultery, the women at the well, Zacheous...ect. Love has so much power, because it fully accepts, and yet people find power to change. It never condemns. It empowers. Love says, "there's a kingdom of light...a place of freedom. Come with me. I'll walk with you side-by-side. There's the ocean of mercy that never ends...come with me and I'll show you. I won't leave you alone."

Jesus doesn't walk the earth anymore in the physical. BUT we do. We're the body of Christ. We're His hands and feet. It the most amazing our rebellion, God saves a people, and this people becomes transformed into a new person, a glorious bride that proclaims the love of our bridgegroom. We walk the earth. We are filled with His love. We shout from the rooftops the power of the cross. We proclaim the blood of Christ. Our righteousness isn't of ours....the power of the law is destroyed. this is life. this is what the world is waiting to see. you in?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

poison ivy's wisdom

so my whole body is covered in poison ivy. This pretty much sucks. But its also kinda funny in a way. My skin has transformed from normal, healthy skin, to nasty, pink splotchy skin.

So i rented this movie yesterday....called the "notebook" - i know, everyone's seen it already, but i haven't. So i watched this chick-flic alone in all its glory. I was having a pity party for my poison ivy condition, and what perfect time to watch a chick-flic.

Admist the sappyness and Hollywood romance, I had this thought. True love is when my wife will love me, even when my body is covered in poision ivy, nasty pink splotches and all. When I watched the notebook, what stirred deepest isn't the desire to have a "Hollywood romance," you know the perfect romantic moments, the passionate makeup kiss, BUT to be totally accepted, even with all the junk in me. For someone to know everything about me, all my weakness, and to say, "yes, I still wanna spend my life with you." that's what I'm most excited about. Hollywood is fun to watch, but my bet is on that the kinda love I'm seeking will never fade. Right now, God is still showing me what my future wife is like, but i'm so excited for the day that I met her, whoever she is, so excited for the day that love becomes a choice, to totally choose someone to love, full acceptance.... So, you know what, poison ivy is teaching me something. haha. glory to God:) just come take this way ASAP!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Freedom, Rain, and Roofs.

letting the blogging begin...again! I've taken a break, but I feel its time to start again.

So, today is Sunday afternoon, and this is the only time of the week we're I feel I have to hang out with people...because its Sunday. AND, of course all my friends are out of the country, and my parents are who-knows-where. So its me, my big house, and my thoughts, God, and this blog.

Last night, I went to the "Knoxville Outpouring" meeting, and God surprised me for sure. I mean, I knew it was going to be good, but last night was a fresh word for me. The worship leader kept singing about freedom, and God was really hitting me with fresh revelation. You know, sometimes God goes after your heart and emotions, and sometimes He hit your mind first. Well, last night was the mind, and then translated into my heart. Here goes....see if you can follow my train of thought.

Ever wondered why God put two trees in the garden? And why didn't He hide the bad tree in the corner or something? NOPE! DEAD CENTER! Its because He gave us freedom, and freedom is the ability to choose...God gave us the freedom to not choose Him, and thus choose our own path...and that path is the path of self-sufficiency, the path of "I'm fine on my own" - otherwise know as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That tree is represented in the "Law" - the law points to righteousness and our weakness because try as we might, we can't fulfill the law. The whole Old Testament is about this, and current day legalism is this package with a nice, neat bow of "I'm a Christian and I have my life in order, or perhaps better stated, I have my lie in order" - this tree, this law, leads us to the only one who can fulfill this law....Jesus!

So if freedom is the ability to choose, then we either choose self-sufficiency, or we choose dependency....on Christ. With that background, here is what I wrote down in my journal last night.

Freedom is being a bond-servant of Christ.
Freedom is living for God's will alone.
Freedom is dependence.
To the world, freedom is God's Kingdom, true freedom is dependence on Him
It looks like being a child.

Freedom looks like complete trust.
Freedom is tasting and seeing that God is good, that His plans for me are LIFE, abundant life.

Freedom is knowing I'm a ligament son of God.
Freedom is surrender.
Freedom is being the sacrifice.

"Your people will be freewill offerings in the day of your power; in the splendor of holiness, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew." - Psalm 110

Know the this verse? "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Well, that verse came alive last night. When God's Spirit is present, He proclaims the wonders and greatness of Christ. And when Jesus is lifted high and seen for who He really is, freedom is found because choosing Christ is abundant life! He is irresistible. Many times, religious baggage gets in the way, but when the Spirit moves, self sufficiency is blown away by the majesty and glory of Christ. You would you rather put your trust in? Legalism looks plain stupid when the beauty of Christ is seen.

Freedom is a progressive journey. Jesus is the destination. Every new level of freedom experienced on earth is a new, fresh level of trust in in who He says He is, and who He says we are. This is the kind of freedom I'm longing for. The kind where my acceptance comes from the Father, and where my life mission is do His will on earth...that's real freedom. Isn't it amazing that we will never "arrive" , and that there is will be a never ending journey to experiencing the depths of God's heart?

So here we are again...releasing control and finding that its the sweetest, most joyful thing ever. God's in charge. Let His faithfulness rain-down upon you...and don't put a roof over your head. Read these lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

I am the wilderness locked in a cage
I am a growing force you kept in place
I am a tree reaching for the sun
Please don't hold me down
Please don't hold me down

I am a rolling wave without the motion
A glass of water longing for the ocean
I am an asphalt flower breaking free but you keep stopping me
Release me
Release me

I am the rain that's coming down on you
That you shielded yourself from with a roof
I am the fire burning desperately but you're controlling me
Release me
Release me

amen. (this song isn't even Christian! People can help but write about Him, and they don't even know it. haha)


Saturday, June 21, 2008


Restless. That's how I've felt today. Ever worked really hard at something, then to only find once you've finished, you're not really sure what to do with your time and thoughts? That's how I feel. Atlanta Fest is now over. I worked really hard to make it all come together. It was worth is it. Now what?

Atlanta Fest brought up more questions that answers, which seems quite like my God. He's good at that.

Here's some of the questions floating around my head: What's the purpose of music? Can music just be entertainment and still count for something? When I say count for something, what do I mean? If I believe God's called me to play music, what the heck does it look and sound like?

Take guys like Toby Mac. He was the main artist of the night after us, and his show rocked. It blew me away. Such excellence. It was plain fun. I'm sure God likes Toby's set too. BUT for me, if I did what Toby does, I think I would regret it later. I have the idea from somewhere, that my friends and I play music, that it do what Jesus did on the earth (isaiah 61) Set the captives. Free those in bondage. I wanna see God's Kingdom come through music. I want to see people encounter Jesus as savior, healer, and deliver in one moment. When heaven touches earth, ushered in on sounds from above. Can this happen? I believe so. When? How? Where? Questions. My King has the answers, and He likes it that way, because I have to seek His face for the answers.

Maybe mainstream Christian festivals aren't the easiest venue for this to happen. I felt that most people didn't know how to respond to what we were playing . They were interested, but while we worshiping, they were watching. I wasn't frustrated while playing, but I did find myself praying for everyone. "God wake up this generation!"

We played Brock's song "Come Away", and I believe that that song carries God's heart of love for our generation. It was so fun getting to sing and play that there. That was probably the highlight for me.

OH, whitewater rafting on the way home was great. I fell out 2 twice. Kandace set the record with 4 falls. Good times.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

puzzle world

Life sometimes feels like a giant puzzle, and us people are the pieces. I've always been crappy at puzzles for some reason...I never seem to have patience required to stick it out in finishing it.

Here's my thought for the day.
All our dreams are intertwined, interwoven with each other. Alone, we will miss our destiny. Together, we will find the fullness of our calling.

See if you can track with me here for a bit...i've got a thought brewing.

So lets pretend we're all represented by puzzle pieces. Firstly, we are all bound by living in the 2 dimensional realm. No moving up and on, only side to side. Sorry. Ok, so we all are trying to be made into one gigantic puzzle. We hear rumors that this puzzle, once completed, is the most beautiful thing one can imagine. Oh, and there's no box to stare at to know what the finished product is. All we have is faith that the puzzle is going to be beautiful, and that its worth sticking it out to finish....and on side note, us puzzle pieces don't move so fast, so we're pretty much stuck in our one little puzzle region.

This is what I envision puzzle world looking like:

"In a land far far away is a place called puzzle world. Us puzzle pieces want to get the puzzle completed so badly, so we all start running around trying to make it happen. Problem is we don't live in a 3 dimensional world, so we can't see what the puzzle is turning out to look like. Many start puzzle clubs, when this or that leader saying he or she knows the best way to complete the puzzle. Often times various puzzle clubs fight with other clubs, and chaos breaks out. (Maybe its hard to imagine puzzle clubs fighting, but try for me ok:)

Life in puzzle world goes on, much know for its lack of unity among puzzle pieces, and after years of hard, grueling work, the puzzle is no closer to being completed. In fact, such bitter puzzle club rivalry has grown that the possibility of ever fitting together seems impossible.

Just when we think there is no hope for puzzle world, no chance for ever being complete and whole, along comes the puzzle master. Turns out there's this "somebody" who lives outside puzzle world's 2 dimensional world! He can move up and down and see what the whole puzzle looks like! He also is the one who designed every single puzzle piece with utmost care and love. Every piece is beautiful. Every piece is different. Every piece is needed for the puzzle to become complete.

Mr. Puzzle Master breaks into puzzle world chaos with a startling announcement.

"Attention puzzle world! If you would like for the mess to be mended and for everyone to find there place in the puzzle, please relax for a minute, and let me guide you one by one to your rightful spot. This is going to take sometime, so make friends with your fellow pieces around you, and help each other out. You'll find that there's pieces that I've created you to fit together perfectly with, and I'll direct you to find them. I'll be coaching you through this, but you're gonna to have to follow my directions. I'm not going to pick you up and move you.

Some of you have lost hope that there's a purpose for your piece. Some of you sky blue pieces think your boring. I see you green tree pieces too. Every single one of you was created to fit into the most beautiful puzzle ever. When you finally find the pieces your supposed to connect with, your going to thank me. Here's the secret to finding your place. Finding your place, or should I say your purpose, is connected to your ability to listen to my voice, and from that move to where I lead you. Oh, you'll need the help of those pieces around you, for I've designed this whole thing to only work when you work together. Why you may ask? Because I like when all my pieces work together.

How can you trust me?
Lets just say I'm the puzzle master."

the end.

So by now if you're still reading this madness, you'll probably think I'm psycho crazy. Many times God speaks to me in the crazy thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, you've caught on to what I'm thinking. I'll save the interpretation for later, or maybe I'll pull a "Jesus" and say he who has ears to hear, let him hear:)

So here's my thought again...maybe it makes more sense now.

All our dreams are intertwined, interwoven with each other. Alone, we will miss our destiny. Together, we will find the fullness of our calling.

oh, this is the song that' s running through my head. (Could be one of my favorite songs ever.)

"When we arrive at eternity's shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We''ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we'll sing
You're beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful"
Phi Wickham - "You're Beautiful"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

sunsets and control

So next door to me is the cutest little girl I think I've ever seen. Her name is Makala. She's mulatto, so her skin is beautiful. Her hair is a little black fro, and she runs around smiling all the time. I'm guessing she's six. She's a big fan of the Bank's house trampoline, and is an almost permanent fixture on it. Tonight, she knocked on the door asking for some paper towels. I would have given her anything at the moment i think...I've never been much of a baby sitter, but I'm seriously thinking about offering to...

Tonight the sunset was amazing. Maybe you saw it too...i laid on the trampoline and watched the low grey clouds mix with the blue sky and the fading orange and pinks, all mixing together. There's much beauty in the simple moments of life. God's glory is everywhere...we just have to look. The 5 minutes of gazing at the beauty seemed to calm the hours of stress from the day. We are created to gaze upon beauty. Eternity is going to rock.

I love watching sunsets, because I get this overwhelming sense that God is in control. Thus I'm not. Watching sunsets ask the question, "Nathan, will you release control to me again with xyz?"
Recently, I heard God whisper this about control...."you'll find my rest when you release the right to control your life to me." There's the catch. God lets us control our life to a certain extent. We have freewill to decide want we want in life, and do everything in our power to control and manipulate people and situations to get what we think we need. Our very American culture prizes the ability to set our minds on some goal, and do everything we can to achieve it.

BUT we live in an upside-down Kingdom. Those who desire to save their life will loose it. Those who lose it will gain it in the end. I beginning to believe that God's plan for my life is abundantly greater that ANYTHING I can think or imagine. Thus when I find myself fearing and worrying, trying to get something i think I need, I hear Papa's voice... "Will you release your right to control your life. Do you believe my plan for you is the best? Do you trust me?

When we offer our lives completely to Him, we become who we were created to be - lovers of God and one another. I love what Andrew Murry says about our purpose in life:

"Man's chief care, his highest virtue, and his only happiness, now and throughout eternity, is to present himself as an empty vessel in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.".....Manifest His love.

Releasing control brings us back to the garden. It brings us to peace. Fear is replaced with trust. Control is replaced with unconditional love.

Go watch a sunset - release control. Then do it all over again. Until the day we die, we will always be learning how to trust God more and more with every bit our lives. Lets start now though...

Friday, June 13, 2008

house meeting and trampolines

Tonight we had our very first official house meeting. We being Brian Johnson, Iain Cook, Will Reagan, and me. First order of things was to elect a house president, so we picked Will, because we thought he would look best with a white wig. His are the orders passed:

Brian is going to head up the mission "kill the mice" - I know, sounds a bit harsh at first glance, but you must understand what we've gone through in the past two months. Whole loafs of bread tunneled through - - -check. Mice poop everywhere - - double check. Even the Ramen noodles got attacked, not to mention our hot chocolate powder. Brian enacted a strict rule of no food left out. Sounds a bit obvious, but for some reason its hard.

Iain is going to take on the roll of head-recycle-man. Seeing that Iain came from Vancouver, and that he's way more "green" then the rest of us, he's the obvious choice.

I decided to take on the job of getting a new router for our internet. Not that exciting, but our internet has a bad habit of not really quite moody.

I can't remember what Will's role is....well, other than the fact that he's the head-renovation-expert of the house. For those that don't already know, we've decided to completely renovate the kitchen, and Will's working a ton on it. Its gonna be so sweet when its done. Pray for "cabinet favor" if that's possible. We have a tight budget, and need some new cabinets pronto.

After meeting tonight, I'm stuck with this thought. Community is amazing. Really, its worth fighting for. Its obvious how God has is hand on all of our relationships, how He birthed something so beautiful, and how He's called us to "be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." - we got to pray for each other tonight, and I was struck at how blessed I am to be living with 3 amazing guys who are sold out to following Christ as any cost. Everyone in the house brings a different gift to the table. We all have our "stuff", our quirks, but there is also the amazing creativity of God in each of my roommates. What's cools is how we all call each other higher. "Let brotherly love continue." - Hebrews 13:1

Another thing that Iain brings to the house, seeing that he's the new roommate and all, is that he's full of big ideas. Like digging a hole for a pool. Or buying a old diesel car and converting it to run on grease. Or planting a garden. (none of these have happened i said, big ideas) He also decided we need a house trampoline , so he went on Craig's list and bought one. Lately, its been a constant source of fun, as we re-visit our childhood days, though slightly bigger and not quite as flexible. At sunset, I struck up a conversation with our neighbors and then invited all their kids to jump on the trampoline. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, they bolted on it. I'm amazed at their self-control in not jumping on it sooner. Our neighbors are real nice...the classic random assortment of people where you're not quite sure their relationship status....white lady, african-american man and brother, 4 african-amerian kids - but we had a good time chatting it up. I did learn that there utility bill was $600 a month, so our $300 a month bill doesn't seem so bad now.

That brings me to our other resolution from the meeting - neighborhood block party! Get ready, late July is going to have the best party ever Banks Ave has ever seen. God's been speaking to us a bunch about living as revolutionaries, and that starts as our own neighborhood. I'm talking about being radical light-bearing, kingdom advancing dudes that bring God's light everywhere our feet tread. And turns out that people our desperate for this light - many never see it. Some remember it long ago. Many live in an constant state of darkness. We prayed together tonight, and God kept impressing that God's light, His goodness and peace, is ready to bust out of us to everyone we come in contact with.

I'm all about revival busting out of Knoxville, but I'm starting to see it starts with the relationships in my life and the people that live around me. If I'm crying out for the "general Knoxville revival", but not willing to see it happen in my own relationships, then what am I doing? Let this be a challenge to live everyday with your ears opened to what God may have you say and do with the people that YOU come in contact with in your NORMAL day. That's how a "normal" day turns in to a God adventure. There's nothing normal about being an ambassador of God - God's entrusted us with His Kingdom, and we have the privilege of seeing it established wherever we go.

I echo Paul's prayer, that "...for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." - Eph. 6:19-20

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Porch time

Here's a shot at writing down my "daily doings" - not sure what else to call it. I feel really busy sometimes, but then I wonder what the heck makes my day so busy. So now I will know. And you will to. Whoever "you" are....Maybe you will ''' be bored at my normal day, or maybe you'll be jealous...take your pick. At this time in my life, I'm searching out what it means to live out the "Christian life." - I'm asking a lot of questions. I'm pondering the why's of life. So I guess this blog is a dialog of my questions, and the answers i may find.

Waking up this morning was nice, because I have air-conditioning in my room now. I actually awoke cold! I went downstairs to find Brandon and Will about to head off to "Rakins" - the local breakfast dinner. Two words - - home-maid biscuits. Need i say more? Brandon and Will took the 1 mile journey on their bikes, while i chose my legs. I rocked out on the way there will the song "You're beautiful" by Phil Wickham. Quite possibly my favorite song so far this year. The song causes me to smile and kinda bounce down the street. Not a normal sight at 8am in the K-town hood.

I then caught eye contact with a man sitting on his front porch. I noticed he was in a wheelchair, and then saw his wife sitting beside him. In the split second we locked eyes, i felt his pain and brokeness. I felt my King's heart of love for them. "Jesus, if you were here, you would go and talk to them, and you would heal his body." - Thus starts the conflict in my head. I'm alive to see God's love pour out of my life, wherever my feet take me. I felt drawn to their porch, BUT then again, I don't know them...what if they don't want to talk? What if they are angry at God? then my stomach chimed in, plus who wants be left out of biscuits the bros?

I continued on, essentially ignoring them. The worship music in my headphones then made me feel guilty. "Jesus is alive" it blared. "If your alive, then you'll be with me if go talk and pray with them." I got to Rakin's to find it closed, with Brandon and Will no where to be found. I started my walk back home, and then remember the couple on the porch. I walked in there direction, thinking I still could find them. I started to pray for the prodigals in my neighborhood. Then I felt like it was time to put my prayers to action. I have God's word dwelling inside me. The Kingdom of God rests in me, and it wants to come out! Headphones off, eyes set on my neighbors, I walked up to them, not having a clue what to say....but my heart beating with a love that's not my own. Is this the Christian life? To be empty vessel for God to fill with His love. To freely receive and freely give away?

2 hours later, I left there porch. I found Jesus on that porch. I saw Him in there eyes. I pray that they saw Jesus in my eyes. I listen as Jim and Linda pore out there hearts to me...Jim (47), had a stoke 4 months. He is bound to a wheelchair now. He longs to walk and move again. Linda is his faithful wife. They share stories of pain and fear. They tell of almost dying, but being rescued by 3 angles; one with fire in his eyes, the other saying its not time yet for you to die. Jim knows there's a reason why he's still on the earth. He's just at odds with what it is.

As I'm talking with Jim, Linda gets a call...she finds that her daughter who has been trying to have a kid for years, just lost her child giving birth. See begins to weep, and we cry out to God together. I lay my hands on Jim and ask with all the faith i can muster for God to heal his body. Jim believes. Nothing happens right away, but I feel his paralyzed hand, its fiery hot...not normal i think for hand that doesn't work. He truly believes he will be healed.

Today, I encountered Jesus in my neighborhood. I felt let on a little secret today. He let me partner with Him in loving His precious children Jim and Linda. And that was one porch. There are many more porches in my neighborhood, all with people crying out for something more. Some know God. Some remember faint whispers of him from long ago. Some are angry at Him. Some know God as a rule book. Some don't even consider Him. BUT everyone longs to be loved. To be accepted. To be cherished. And for some reason God has chosen us to share this love with the world. Fill us up God to overflowing with your love!!! With your compassion!!

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."
2nd Cor. 4:6-7