This is my current status on facebook:
“God is active when He is silent, never absent.”
I wrote this after quite the morning (today). Our day began with some earnest talking between me and Mike, with tearful eyes and the words, “I just don’t think I can handle God’s silence very much longer.”
If you have read my last post
, then you know that the landowner that we’ve been leasing the property from has been staring foreclosure in the face. He had until May 22nd to appease the bank and stave off the process. We played phone tag and went on our Ohio family Memorial Day weekend trip not knowing what we would come home to. A few days after being home, the man and Mike were able to talk. Here’s what happened. . .
From January until May, the owner had been placing our ministry lease money paid to him into its own account. On May 22nd, he offered that exact dollar amount to the bank to see if they would give him/us more time.
And. They. Did.
So, money that God used to HAVE us here, was then doubly used to KEEP us here, and no additional financial exchange had to come at that point from anyone’s own pocket, his or ours.
We looked at it like this: God bought the ministry more time. Sixty days, to be exact. Therefore, we went to the families here to say, “We are to be ready ‘in and out of season.’ This first year has been a time of preparation. What if the roadways opened and it was ‘in-season-time?’ Do you believe that you are ready? What does that mean to you? To your home? What needs attention over the next sixty days? God can’t move forward until WE are going with Him. What forward movement is happening in your life?” Our memory verse for families leading up to that had been:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Some versions read “workmanship” or “creation” for the word “handiwork.” Yet, all of them speak of the Hand of the Creator being allowed willing access to that which is being recreated, fashioned, renewed, reworked. He is The ONLY One who knows exactly what He crafted His “masterpiece” (or piece of the Master) to do. Therefore He will, with all artistry, rise to that occasion in order to fulfill His intended purpose in a surrendered life! The Hand at work needs the surrender. And in that connected trust and faithfulness, there are endless possibilities.
Intended purpose. Intended to bring GLORIOUS display of Himself.
Do you believe that God wants to do that in this world? If so, then with His hand-at-work, don’t you think that He will do more in you and in me than you or I can ever do on our own?
What are we afraid of? Why do we feel the discomfort of letting go? Why is it easier to settle for being a lesser creation, just to remain in control? We see it in individuals, in homes…. and in churches… we see it in… everywhere!
So, here’s where I was today and why that brought me to the FB status,
“God is active when He is silent, never absent.”
Right now Mike is walking families through a series of flooding the world with the blood of Jesus. Sound creepy? Well, God flooded the world once to start anew, and He promised not to use that same approach again. In that covenant promise, He had made the choice—the decision to not destroy the world, but instead to SAVE it. Through the Cross, He made the way for redemption, renewed lives, re-creation. A FLOOD of forgiveness. And if you and I would get our eyes off of ourselves and onto what is important to Jesus, then we would, in fact, FLOOD the world with Him. How? Through patience, through kindness… (And there is much more that Mike will challenge us with over the next few weeks).
This sounds simple, but it is NOT. Unpacking the reality of the word patience or the word kindness—not merely from a definition of virtue, but rather as an active force in our lives which reconciles people through the power of the Cross—NOW, we’re getting somewhere. Families don’t need to think about patience, families need to activate patience with one another by HOLDING ON AT EVERY TURN and NO MATTER THE COST, because Christ has given us the power to STAND FIRM in Him and to trust in His “Hand-at-work,” even when it seems impossible. THAT is patience!
Our kids don’t just need to hear, “Being kind is to share and care…” We need to grasp the kindness of the Lord that leads people to repentance and learn how to BE KINDNESS in another person’s life, when they most need it. This will NEVER happen quickly. And did you know that if you grumble about them later (OUCH) that it wasn’t really the Kindness that comes from the Cross, or that leads to it? If we are bringing Him in on the scene, then the complaining has. got. to. stop. Period. The kindness that people need cannot POSSIBLY come from just you! Or you WILL complain! And you WILL run dry! You WILL NOT have an unlimited supply! We are not going to grow in Christ if we are mere “good-deed-doers.” There is more to it than that. The MORE is the Lord.
People’s trust in the authenticity of Christ’s transforming power is at stake! People are to be drawn to Him, not to you and to me. Many people that we (our group of families) have had the OVERWHELMING JOY of connecting with over the past year have needed us to serve them in shifts, in order for the Love of Christ to be given in an unlimited supply. We are not meant to go it alone and then run out of things like patience or kindness. We cannot let our pride or our mouths get in the way and thus ruin all of the great and mighty things that God has done! It is love and kindness that begins the journey, and when people in deepest need begin anew, it is nothing short of a miracle.
Mike reads the Bible from cover to cover in 90 days, sometimes less. He just did it in 60 days a few weeks ago. Why does he do this? Because the Word gives Life to all things. And the main things that God cares about need to be the main things that we care about. If you and I are just reading and picking apart verses, we miss it much of the time. We get hung up in debate, and debate will always limit God’s HANDIWORK to create. Debate fuels pride, and pride is the armor of protecting dark places and keeping people stuck (even content) in their pits. Pride and debate are the pits!
We live in such a day as is described in 2 Timothy Chapter 3
. If you look it up, take a deep breath first. It’s tough.
But it is so true. We have so many “appearances” of godliness today, but we deny its power. The power is denied access when it is just a front, a mask, something pretend. So, have we been absolutely CRAZY to think that there are actually people in the community who WANT to walk in real godliness? If you lived in this home and could hear everything going on, then you would conclude, “Yes. They are really crazy enough to hope, and to try to find those people! They really do want to see the ‘MORE to this life’ that God tells us is possible!”
However, it is no secret if you have read my blog that Mike and I have wanted to quit, just get “normal jobs,” and focus 100% on our own kids. I’m getting now to this morning and my FB status (thank you for hanging in there with me).
NOWHERE in the bible does it tell a Christian leader to cry out for fundraising. (We believe in the Storehouse approach, but I’m not gonna take the time to explain it all right now).
The reality is that we WILL NOT serve the hurting and then charge them for it. So this year has been filled with hours and hours of free counseling. We don’t ask for money, but duh! Of COURSE we need it. We are trusting that people that are growing in their faith will eventually partner with us in the way the bible has designed, but we cannot force it and we do not make them. We would be focused on the exact wrong thing if we shifted our attentions away from serving the Lord by loving people, to raising the funds for programs and property.
Now, you may have all kinds of thoughts flying around about business, and you can feel free to contact me and share your thoughts if you’d like. But because we have felt led to SERVE and to PRAY… we have seen God provide in supernatural ways before even having to ask. It’s miraculous, and strange, and wonderful, and excruciatingly testing all at the same time.
Many times, Mike and I have said, “If we just had the funds and we didn’t have to worry about provision, then this [insert crazy-hard, patience-needing scenario] would not be so unbearable.” (But if you know your bible, then you would tell us that we don’t have to worry about anything, right? At least, you SHOULD remind us of that! It’s hard to remember… remember?) Or we have even asked, “If we just owned the property and could move forward, then would this [insert crazy-hard, patience-needing scenario] even be bothering us like it is?” Our prayers daily have included protection and provision. Yet, sometimes the answers come in the silence, and they can take a while to recognize.
We have known that we are not building a typical “church.” We are a community serving the Lord and one another in order to grow a stronger community, and to BE the church. A lot of churches think they are doing that too. We’ve been a part of so many of them. But this off-the-stage, not-just-for-Sunday quest is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g our faith and uncovering the un-health of the HOME in a way that we have never before experienced!
So when we pour so much into a week, and then open the “NEXXT Box” (donation box) on a Monday morning to find fifty dollars and a whole lot of “How are you going to do this Lord?” then we have NO CHOICE but to pray. We have never prayed more in all of our lives.
The kids pray.
Pray pray pray.
It’s good to be in such a state of living that prayer and breathing are both equally essential to our very existence. These are strengthening times. To be ready for the “in season.”
Okay, so some of my prayers lately have not even slightly been in the form of “Dear Heavenly Father…. blah blah blah…” They’ve sounded more like, “Sigh! We are SO READY to start the work toward the farming!” or “Oh, Jesus, I would be so happy to have two gates! I don’t want to be afraid for my kids! Wide Open Home? Yes, so Please help us have gates soon so that we know everyone that is coming and going while the kids are outside playing!”
Mike and I took a walk on Saturday, and we could NOT believe it! Remember about a year ago when I prayed about bush-hogging, and then a man showed up THAT NIGHT in a truck offering to bush hog? Well, that clean-up never happened… and on Saturday, we went on that walk, and WOWZERS! Not only is the man bush-hogging, he is putting up fences… and today he came by and asked if he could put up TWO GATES (in the exact two places where I prayed to have them!?!?).
Mike and I are always asking each other (and the kids), “Are you hearing the Lord directing/guiding? What are you learning? Is He speaking as you listen?” And lately, there has been a lot of silence. Mike has just felt a “Hold on” resonating, and also a “Go until the Lord says ‘stop.'” I’ve had a “Start dreaming again” stirring in me, in spite of the fact that everything we dream about requires funding that we don’t have. The kids have shared, “Don’t give up. We can’t quit.” Even Miss Mabyn has gotten in on all the action and she just said to me this morning, “God keeps speaking to me to be patient.”
A few weeks ago, our family money had gotten very low, and we had $750 left in the checking account. Later that day, in our mailbox there were a few checks from Lifeway for some writing I did a year and a half ago. What a blessing! It will carry us through for a few months!!!
Again, my status today was “God is active when He is silent, never absent.”
And I guess I had the realization that we Christians should know, but need to actually live it for real in order to believe it. We are to focus on godliness. Period. We are to flood others with the things that poured from the Cross, and through the power that comes not from us but from the God of Creation, Thē Master Artist. Through the blood of His Son, we BECOME givers of what those around us need, in order that they may “see Him” and the power that His Redemption holds.
When focused on the things that God cares about, He does keep moving. Even when we cannot see it. And you may actually be able to breathe a prayer, and then take a walk to see brush removed and fences being built, and the beginnings of what is to come. I put my hands on Mike’s shoulders and I shook them, “Seriously??? The farmland is being prepared!?! He is bringing GATES!?! Is this actually happening??? From the community??? Just as we prayed??? Without having to go find the people??? There is NO explanation! Is God really doing what we are believing? Seriously? This can happen???”
We pray that we can make full purchase. AND SOON! We pray that the “in-season” time is begun. We have no idea how it will come about while we have so very little money coming in. Yet, we have no idea how we’ve seen God do all that He has done and continues to do! And if you have read the stories in the bible of the people who gave the seemingly tiniest amount—amounts that leaders, even the disciples, mocked—you’d know that God knew how HUGE the sacrifice was to that person, and you will understand the WEALTH that has come into this ministry from week to week. It’s just PLAIN CRAZY to believe that the bible is true, and that God will take the littlest little and do the muchest MUCH. Crazy, but . . . TRUE!
I wonder what will happen when God is NOT being silent!!!
I just read this all to Mike. Here is HIS SUMMARY:
* Work is being done on the property that we can’t afford, but has been offered.
* Fences and gates are being put in and a farm is being established on a property that the owner doesn’t want, that we can’t yet fund, and the bank doesn’t know what to do with.
* As we sit here, the bush-hogger’s son is fishing and talking to our daughter just a few short months after the motorcycle accident that should have taken his life.
* His father reminds him every day, “The Lord spared your life; you are blessed.”
My blogs would be much shorter if Mike wrote them!
The Lord spared your life; you are blessed. Hopefully that will resonate with us all.
Enjoy these pictures of the fence and gates going up. . . And please please pray for our faithful patience and for the Lord’s perfect faithfulness. Thank you!