I have been working night and day and day and night to get my newest book, Our Father, done. It has been difficult at times and thrilling at others, but God is so faithful.
I promised myself when I started this blog that I would not just write things, but that I would only post something when I sensed that the Lord was prompting it. I have struggled with the months of silence on my blog because my brain knows that not writing for a long time is really bad for keeping an audience. Many “professional” bloggers commit to writing on certain days of the week and you can be certain that you will get some nugget of wisdom every Wednesday or a Tirade each Tuesday. I was never able to commit to such a schedule, because what God had assigned me to do was to bring forth a Fresh Word. But to do that, I have to wait on His timing and His leading. So many times over the past months I have had the thought, my own thought, that I needed to just write something, but each time I knew that it was my own flesh prompting me and so I chose to stay silent. Thank you for picking up where we left off.
About 2 years ago I started to ask the Lord to break my heart with the things that break His heart. That is a prayer that I can promise you that He will always answer.
I was invited to read my first book, The Lamp Maker, to the children at my home church in Vandergrift, Pa. It’s a traditional church in a dying-depressed steel town. A once booming place where the population is aging, the jobs are scarce and the needs are great. I went to the Wednesday Praise Kids meeting and God did the unexpected. He not only moved in a mighty way, but He gave me a deep love and passion for the children and the people. I started praying for clarity. What was God planning to do among these people and how was He inviting me to join Him?
I started to pray for and encourage the leaders. After many months, I was asked to bring the morning message one Sunday. God again moved in a mighty way and He called me to partner with their ministry. I am now traveling there every other week to lead The Experiencing God Bible Study and then I stay to work with the kids. It has truly been a blessing.
Now I want you to realize that these kids who come to this afterschool program at the church are very much “un-churched.” They have a terrible time sitting still and listening. They don’t know how to properly behave in a church. And Today,when the kids were packing the Operation Christmas Child Boxes… they stole the gum.
Why would they do that? Don’t they know better?
No, they really don’t.
We all are born with a disease. It’s the Give-Me Give-Me Greed Disease. Not only were we born with this self gratifying self-centered sickness, but everything around us only feeds the sickness. Commercials, magazines, store displays, our culture…. everything around us is telling us that we need to look out for number one. We are sinful and selfish, period.
God gave me the idea a few weeks ago to trust Him to provide Christmas gifts for all 40-50 kids and their families. Many of these families have 2 moms and 2 dads, a boyfriend, a live in grandparent or other relative as well as multiple siblings such that the kids have a hard time deciding who really counts as a sibling on their “this is my family” paper. Many of these kids are just trying to survive day in and day out. There was no money for such an undertaking and very little time. But I knew that God was asking us to step out in faith and trust Him.
I put a little thing on Facebook asking for donations and I made a few phone calls. I did a little shopping and ordered a few things online. Nothing major, just as I felt led, I responded with open hands and an open mind. Well, today, I was overwhelmed with God’s provision. It was like the loaves and the fishes. God just supernaturally supplied beautiful things. In three weeks, the children will get to choose gifts for to give to their parents and siblings for Christmas. My heart is so full tonight that I feel like I could burst.
But here’s the thing. Already before we left this evening, a few items were “stolen” by some sticky fingers. There is a very real concern among the Praise Team leadership that perhaps more items will be missing by the time we were ready to have the kids shop. Their concerns are valid. There are several “weekly meetings” that occur in that basement. There are people who are desperate or who just don’t know better, who could come along and just take the things. But even if they do, I am leaving it in the Lord’s hands. My prayer is that these gifts will serve as a tangible expression of God’s love for these kids and their families. My prayer is that God will move in this little town in a mighty way this Christmas and that He will get all of the praise and glory. My prayer is that these kids will know the Love of Jesus personally and that He will cure each one of them (and each one of us) of the Give-Me Give-Me Greed Disease. He is the only cure. Oh How I pray that His Spirit would move among those children and their families and that they would find hope and joy in Jesus Christ alone this Christmas.
Take a minute and do a little heart check. Do you have a mild or even severe case of the Give-Me Give-Me Greed Disease? Is much of your time and resources spent on making your own life more comfortable. Are you hoping that that next pair of shoes, new phone, big screen tv, etc. is going to somehow satisfy you? Have you received a full dose of the cure? Recognizing and admitting that we are sinners and acknowledging that Jesus is the only one who can fill that void within us and cure us from the inside out is the only way to be free from this terminal illness. It is only when we get our eyes off of ourselves and on to Him, that we can truly live in victory. Thanksgiving is coming and Christmas is already trying to take over. This disease is deadly and it is rampant all across our nation, even in the church. The cure is 100% effective 100% of time. Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone and surrender to His ways. If you’ve have chosen Jesus for the first time today or if you would like to know more about the cure, send me a message. I would love to pray and celebrate with you!
Please also join me in praying for the people of Vandergrift and all across our nation!