Tuesday, May 4, 2010
It is hard for me to remember a day with which to compare to today. . .It was an amazing day. . .
Sunday Jackie and I brought Mikah, our youngest grandchild to church. We have six grandchildren. Mikah is the third grandchild I have danced and worshiped before the Lord with at Life Tabernacle. There is nothing quite like having a small child in your arms and dancing before God. It is an extremely rare pleasure. . .
Mikah's father was in Life Tabernacle's altar a few weeks before with his hands raised to God, with tears streaming down his cheeks, but it has been an uncertain and veering path for Jeff. You can read about much of Jeff's struggle with addiction at his blog: foreverlikethemoon.blogspot.
Jeff had texted me last evening telling me that he wanted to come with me on street ministry tonight. I was surely grateful for that. I haven't had much communication with Jeff in the past few weeks and I was glad for the opportunity of fellowship and hopefully a chance to minister to Jeff's needs. While at work today Jackie emailed me that I should read Jeff's latest blog entry. . .He describes in an article titled, "The Beautiful Struggle" how he was filled with the Spirit of God and spoke in tongues for the first time, while writing his blog. . .Jackie and I and others at Life Tabernacle have been praying for Jeff these past couple of weeks and this is the answer to many prayers. . . .
That was the beginning of the day. . .
Last week I had seen a front page news article about a young man, 16 years old, who had been reportedly caught by the security personnel at Walmart shoplifting. When confronted he lifted his shirt, showing a weapon. Running from the store he was reported to have carjacked a vehicle and in a chase, he wrecked the stolen vehicle miles away in Elkhart. Now rather than a relatively minor, maybe class 'd' misdemeanor as a charge, the young man has several class 'b' felonies. His showing of the gun even though it was only, as it turned out a BB gun, changed the shoplifting charge to armed robbery and precludes his being tried as a juvenile. I don't know what he was stealing, but maybe for a $10 pair of sunglasses, this young man is now facing possibly 40 years in prison. . .(these figures, etc. are just guesses on my part). . .He did something really dumb. . .really stupid and he may spend from his 16th birthday until he's 40 years old in prison. . .wow. . .talk about a tragedy. . .
I wrote the young man a letter. Told him I was a chaplain at the jail. Told him if he wanted I would come see him. . .I got a call Sunday from him (the jail staff allowed him to call me for free somehow). He sounded very humble. . .very open. . .He wanted to see me. Tonight just as I was getting ready to leave the church, I received another call from the young man. . .again the staff let him make a free call. . .He told me that he has been an atheist and he desires to open his heart and turn his life over to Christ. . .He wanted to know if we could talk about this tomorrow when I come to see him. . .Oh my!! Almost exactly 10 years ago, I came through the doors of Life Tabernacle for the first. . .as an atheist. . .Yeah young man. . .I think we might be able to find something to talk about tomorrow night at the jail. . .I had asked yesterday for prayer about this situation from a few at the church. . .Pastor Johnson responded. . .praying that the Lord go before us in our ministry. . . boy oh boy did the Lord listen. . .
I'm already pretty long on this, and I haven't even gotten to the Street ministry. . .Jeff N. (Mikah my youngest grandson's daddy), Brother Henry Cruz, Pastor Sanchez, and I went on the street ministry/prayer walk this evening. It was not an exceptionally warm evening. It was nice and beautiful walking weather, but there were not great numbers of people out on their porches. Later in the summer we will have many more people to speak with, but for a first evening of the season, it was surely a nice evening. Saw a few of the old regulars of the neighborhood. Some church was having a hot dog cookout in the low income apartments. So there were lots and lots of people out over there. Brother Cruz and I anointed and prayed with David Gilbert (Zoe's husband). His health is very very poor.
It felt good to be out talking to people. . .spreading the good news of the Lord on the streets of Elkhart. It's been a long season since we were last out there. . .Jeff saw numbers of people who were high on drugs and noticed houses that probably had dark things going on behind their drawn curtains. . .He has already posted a blog entry about his experience tonight.
I was almost back to the church, walking past the cemetery on Middlebury Street, when I spotted two young women about a block away walking together as they pushed a young child in a stroller on Cemetery Street. I walked down to them, the one young woman with the stroller began grinning broadly as I approached. There was a flicker of a memory, but not much more. Maybe seeing the puzzlement in my face, she said, "Yeah, you anointed me almost two years ago. . " and it came back to me. She was with 3 or 4 friends walking around the low income apartments. I had seem them make several loops as I passed out fliers and prayed with people. They were having a grand time. The friends cutting up and laughing hilariously with this woman as they walked, who at the time was about as pregnant as a woman can get. She was ready to pop and her friends were walking with her, hoping to jump start her labor pains by the walking around and around the apartment complex. I chatted with them. Telling them I was praying for the neighborhood and would love to pray with them of they had anything to pray about. The young ladies wanted prayer for their pregnant friend and her unborn child. I poured anointing oil on their hand and they lifted her shirt and rubbed the oil on her belly and out in the open air, we lifted up a prayer for this woman and her soon to be born child. . .
Tonight, she smiled broadly at me, when I approached them. . .She reminded me that I had prayed with her almost 2 years ago and the child in the stroller tonight, was that unborn child. He was a little boy named AJ. . . I asked her if she would like prayer again. . .and "yes" she responded, "she would like it much. . ." I poured the oil in the two ladies hands and we laid hands on the little boy, praying for God's protection on him. . .for God's wisdom to come on this young mother. . .for God to hear her prayers for her child. . .it was a golden moment. . .in the lengthening shadows of a most golden and most godly evening. . .
My God. . .what is an evening like this worth. . .
Thank you my Lord. . .
Thank you my God. . .