I had the blessing of interviewing Lindiwe & Peter Kirstein back in June, the soon-to-be directors at Beautiful Gate Care Center in Lesotho Africa. Their story of following God’s voice to become directors is amazing. I pray that you will be inspired as well to follow the voice of Abba Father in your life.
East Colfax is one of the darkest streets in the Denver area. The crime rate in this section is off the charts. It has long been a hang out for drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, and those stifled with severe poverty living in dozens of run down motels. Last week my wife Patty and I joined a ministry called “Jesus on Colfax” led by a pastor friend Shawn Sikkema, we handed out food and offered prayers for any takers living in two motel complexes.
Together we ministered to addicts, wayward sons and daughters, those with mental illness, health issues, ex-prisoners, and others who for one reason or another found themselves calling a motel home. Jesus truly was on Colfax that night.
In the midst of this battlefield for the mind and soul was a powerful light found in room 15. John and Juanita lived in this unit for the past two months and as the door opened Juanita boldly uttered, “The LORD is Good!!!” Pastor Shawn warned us about this room, he told us that once we met this couple we would want to come back every Tuesday. He was spot on with this prediction, as a spirit of joy flowed out of Juanita fueled by a heart anchored in the worship of her Savior Jesus Christ.
John and Juanita are “unofficially ordained” as the pastors of their motel complex and are quick to offer loving prayers for the others, their prayers are filed with truth and compassion. We too were grateful to be recipients of their blessed words. Before our conversation ended Juanita broke out in praise that filled East Colfax with a fresh invasion of the light of King Jesus. As we departed room 15 with the joy of Jesus and some big hugs one of the residents a few rooms down shouted out, “You all are having much too fun!!” He couldn’t have said it better, in one of highest homicide areas in Denver we did “church” and it was a blast.
As we left we were reminded by Juanita what a gift praise is and the dynamos or explosive power, that flows from it to overcome the darkness and bring a “breakthrough” of Heaven’s Light. When we praise our Father no matter how dark our situation we flood the area around us with the dynamos of the Holy Spirit and His light will overtake the darkness for the glory of His Kingdom.
I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3
What a challenge for each of us to call upon the Lord in prayer and praise!
Hiking the 14,000-foot Mount Democrat meant that we must arrive early at the trailhead in order to beat the predictable afternoon thunderstorms. My son had planned this climb for sometime; he figured it was a great way to end the summer before everyone headed back to school, and a great motivator to keep his dad in shape. As adrenaline carried us up the first few miles we noticed the mountain beginning to disappear as a cloudbank rapidly rolled in. As we plodded upward people started to rush downward sharing that they heard thunder and we should get off the mountain ASAP! We looked at each other and determined to go a little further and than decide. As we made it to a place called the saddle the weather got worse and we discussed what to do next.
Earlier that morning while driving up we talked about an email I recently received from a friend who shared how God was bringing about breakthroughs in his life after a long season of dark clouds of suffering. Perhaps it was because of that conversation we located a small wooden shelter to huddle in for protection and waited for a breakthrough and hoped this was a good idea. While the cold whipping wind swirled around us I built a small prayer altar from nearby rocks. After about 20 minutes we noticed the clouds lifting and the mountain was in view again. As we meandered to the closest ledge a glorious rainbow broke forth which energized our souls. We had our breakthrough and continued the climb, when we reached the summit the view was glorious and any struggles with the hike were quickly forgotten.
While on that mountain God gave us a picture none of us will ever forget. Truth is all of us have faced spiritual storms filled with dark cold clouds where God’s presence seems to vanish. And yes the thought of turning around and finding a familiar shelter in our spiritual walk has happened on more than one occasion. One hiker, who made a U-turn down the mountain, said to us, “Time to turn around, get a beer, sit on the couch, and enjoy the Olympics.” But as you read Scripture time and again the spiritual mountain climbers who kept going in the midst of the darkness in time experienced seasons of powerful breakthroughs!
The greatest of all climbers was Jesus, He crawled His way up Mount Moriah climbed on a wooden cross and waited out the horrific storm trusting in His Father for a breakthrough. On the third day the ultimate breakthrough came as darkness fled from the glory of a resurrected Savior who became King! And He offers the same powerful breakthroughs to all who are willing to put their hope and trust in His promises in the midst of their own individual storms.
For some reason I have heard the word breakthrough numerous times over the last few months. I’m holding on in prayer that our Abba Father is about to break forth in a powerful way for His waiting children. His beloved children who have not turned back in the storm but are holding on in faith for a mighty breakthrough to shine the way up to the places He is calling us to climb and showing us a fresh revelation of His glory and grace. Keep holding on for the coming breakthrough!
What makes God dance? Dependence! For a month a friend and I committed to study and through Luke 10. This is an amazing text that is foundational for the mission of God’s church, yet, often neglected. The first half of Luke 10 is about Jesus sending out 72 of His followers on a short- term mission trip. He gives them a set of instructions, which they follow and the glory of Heaven comes to earth through these disciples who are overcome with joy at what they experienced.
As Jesus takes time to debrief with them He too is overwhelmed by what had happened and responds in a prayer of praise to His Father:
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children, Yes Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (vs. 21)
The Greek word for “joy” in vs. 21 means to be exceedingly glad, over come with such joy that one breaks out jumping and dancing. This is the only place in scripture where we see Jesus “full of joy.” I’m sure there were time when Jesus laughed and experienced joy but I believe this text highlights for us what brings God the most joy, a joy that makes Him leap and dance. And as the text points out it is when the Father reveals His glory to “little children.” The word “little” means infants who live in total dependence on their parents.
I have been learning through this text and especially the last two years that the Father has been calling me to live as an infant resting on His chest in full dependence for everything in my life. When I lean into this truth I find the greatest of all joys in my Father’s love and provision for all my needs and I know this makes Him dance with exuberant joy over this trust.
My friend and I hiked up to a waterfall last week and pondered Luke 10 and the lessons that the Holy Spirit has been teaching us through it. We both agreed we are most full of God’s joy when we realize we are powerless and totally dependent on Him for everything. This is when we begin to experience Jesus‘ dance of joy over us and the fullness of His love flowing down in and through us like a mighty waterfall of His amazing grace.
I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3).
Jesus for President! What do you think? One morning in the midst of the political disarray that is slamming our country like a perfect storm I found solace as I read about Jesus washing the feet of His disciples in John 13. The Creator/King got down on His knees, picked up stinking dirty feet and washed them clean with a humility that shouts of another world’s love. This visual got me wondering what it would be like if Jesus was running for President.
Jesus wouldn’t fit into the establishment that is for sure. On Passover night as he was busy washing feet the city’s religious power brokers were doing back alley deals filled with bribes and out right lies to keep their position secure and the status-quo satisfied. The fact that Jesus even washes Judas’s feet, his betrayer, the disciple filled with Satan’s rage, further illustrates how Jesus just wouldn’t fit in. Jesus portrays a sharp contrast to how the political machine moves today with smear campaigns and highly personal attacks.
I smiled to myself as I thought about Jesus for President and the men He invited to be with Him in that upper room to share His last meal. This was a group of nobodies lacking political clout and experience, yet these were the ones He selected to advance His kingdom agenda. Jesus chose men and women the world would call foolish to confound the wise and the political elites (I Cor. 1:27ff.).
As I walked through John 13 what struck me the most about Jesus’ qualifications for President was His security. He could take the attacks, betrayals, and ruthless blows because He knew who He was and whom He belonged to:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. (vs. 3)
It was His security in His Father’s love that made Him the perfect public servant. Abba’s Love was all Jesus needed in life; no praise of men, no power trips or financial success could come close to the fullness of His Father’s love. A love that would lead Jesus to the cross so sinners like you and me could find an open door into the Father’s arms of love. This indescribable love is able to defeat our deepest insecurities and fears for our families, the future, and our political establishments.
After washing feet this perfect leader got up off His knees joins His disciples eating the Passover and gives His political kingdom agenda to bring hope to a lost and hurting world:
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (vs. 15,17).
Jesus’ solution to the systemic evil in our world is to serve as He served by laying down His life for His enemies out of a love that flows from the Father above.
In all reality if Jesus were living today there is no way He would be considered as a Presidential candidate, or for any office at all. His platform is too radical, too life changing, and is counter our self-saturated culture. However Jesus got the 1 vote that mattered the most and that was a YES from His Father who made Him King of Kings and Lord over all the rulers of the world. Jesus has my vote!!!