Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Happened Last Night

If you have a moment I would like to fill you in on just a small part of what happened at The StoreHouse last night.

Sometime just after 5:00 p.m. the people began to trickle into the building. When they came in they were immediately greeted by the smell of a fantastic meal emanating from the HeBrews CafĂ©. That meal did not arrive in a refrigerated semi-trailer to be popped into the microwave and warmed up. It happened because loving people realize the importance of Christian fellowship and use the gifts that God has given them to prepare a fellowship meal for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Among, and along with, those coming to enjoy a meal together was a group of people arriving an hour before service. They come early every week so that they can climb aboard The StoreHouse fleet of vans and shuttle buses that go out into the streets of Greencastle. They give up their time in order to bring children and young people to a place where they can hear a message of hope. Without those dedicated people NONE of those 80 – 100 souls would have heard that message!

It takes a lot of dedicated people to do what we do at The StoreHouse on Wednesday nights. Some cook meals, some drive vans and buses, some ride along with the drivers in order to keep order, still others come to help teach and to assist in the various ministries and classes that take place all over the building. They do this week in and week out without fail. I am truly thankful for each and every obedient servant of God that makes all of this possible. My thankfulness is not because we pull off getting so many kids into the building. I am thankful because of the victories that take place in both small and great ways every week.

Please allow me to tell you about some victories that I saw last night in youth ministry. The first victory is that over 40 Middle School and High School students who have parents that never take them to Church showed up at THEIR CHURCH last night. They never miss!! They are always here!! If you would ask them if they go to church they would say, “Yeah, I go to church at The StoreHouse every week!” We had somewhere between 48 and 54 young people in service last night! Eighty percent of them come from unchurched families! We would have had about 60 kids here, but we were missing some of the kids from families that attend The StoreHouse on Sundays. What do we do to keep them coming back every week? Well, this week’s message was based on Colossians and was very similar to the one preached on Sunday. As a matter of fact every week the message is similar to the one preached on Sunday. We are preaching through the Bible on Wednesday nights! We preach God’s Word and they keep coming back!

Does it work? Well, when the altar call was given there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 young people at the altar. Only two of them have parents that take them to Church! Yeah, it works! Why does it work? Because of faith, hope, and love! Don’t give up the faith! There is hope! Keep loving on these hurting kids! Keep serving! Keep giving! Keep praying! Keep believing! Keep the faith!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Lord's Prayer

Before Jesus utters "The Lord's Prayer" He says, concerning the pagans, "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." He then goes on to say, "This, then, is how you should pray . . ." -- Matthew 6:8-9

It would seem that Jesus is saying that we don't need to ask what we think that we need to ask for. The problem is not with God not knowing what we need. The problem is with us not knowing what we truly need. We need to ask for what He wants us to ask for. The Lord's Prayer doesn't change Him -- it changes us.

The Lord's Prayer lets us know what the real need is!

My Interpretation of The Lord's Prayer:

Dad, Wow, I can't believe that I can call you that!
Thanks for adopting me!
As your new son/daughter; please help me to always bring honor to your name.

You already know what I need.
You provided that for me today, just like you have every other day.
I don't even have to ask!
It's always there!
It's always enough!

I'm not here to talk about anything else that I think that I need.
You already know about all of that without me even asking!
I'm here to find out what you need from me.
How can you use me to advance your kingdom? I'm here to receive Your Majesty's orders.

Forgive me for all the times that I have failed your eternal cause; and help me to do the same for those have failed my feeble one.
I am amazed at how good you are at forgiving me for so much and at how horrible I am at forgiving others for so little!
Help me to be more like you!

Concerning my provisions; please don't give me so little that I will be easily tempted to despair, jealousy,  and greed.
And, please don't give me so much that I become sidetracked from what is important.
Restrain me from living beyond your daily provision.
Make me deaf to Satan's call for more!

Your kingdom is the one that matters -- not mine!
Your kingdom is the everlasting one -- not mine!
Help me to remember that.

For the sake of your name, help me to build your Kingdom instead of hindering it!
Make it so, my Father, my Lord, and my King!

Please, make it so!

My Thoughts at the Half-Way Point of The Harvest100

What an awesome effort by The StoreHouse for this year’s Harvest100. Believe it or not we are on track to complete 1,000 miles this month! Wow! 1,000 miles! That’s 100,000 calories burned! That’s 1,760,000 steps! Amazing!

As great as those statistics are though, we hope that we are accomplishing something even greater! We hope that we are tearing down walls of hopelessness and despair among the lost in our county! We hope that as we walk and run that we are bombarding heaven with prayer for the lost souls all around us! What a great week to pray for DePauw – Old Gold Week! May a fire of revival flow through the campus. May we keep believing for a miracle between Jackson and Elm, and Seminary and Olive! May we believe for it “Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away!”

At mile 16 my heart was broken. Not because my body had failed me, and I couldn’t go on anymore, but because of the sight that I was confronted with. On a little hillside just north of I-70 there were a few trucks, an excavator, and a large dumpster. They were surrounded by rubble and smoke was rising from the middle of the pile. They were there to destroy a church! The church had been vacant for some time and now the walls were being torn down. The only thing that would remain would be the graveyard that surrounded it. I’m afraid that if God does not raise up more people like those that walked and ran around Greencastle and Putnam County these last two weeks that the scene of mile 16 will repeat itself time and time again. The Church is called to leave behind life, not graves.

At mile 17 my heart was broken once again. Not because my body had failed me, although by this point it was seriously thinking about it! My heart was heavy as I began to consider what had just taken place for the last 2 hours and 50 minutes. If every stride that I had taken over that period had represented one soul then I had just ran by 29,920 souls. That’s approximately how many people aren’t in church anywhere in our county this morning! It took me 2 hours and 50 minutes running at a 10 min./mile pace to pass that many souls! God help us!

We have a tremendous job to do, and we have an amazing God that is poised to help us complete the task! Let’s shake ourselves off and prepare ourselves to see what He can accomplish through The StoreHouse!