August 14, 2012
We spent a long weekend in the Denver area. KK and I enjoyed the scenery but were especially refreshed by the 1-on-1 time. (After all her “Love Language” is Quality Time).
I woke up early Sunday morning and went to the lobby for coffee. Since it was about 5:30, and no one was in the lobby, I struck up a conversation with the night manager at the desk.
After a few minutes, I asked Justin for a late checkout time–explaining that I was heading to the Riverside Church (about a block away) and it would really help if I could stop by and change clothes before checking out.
He said, “Sure. Do you have friends there?” I responded, “Actually I am speaking there this morning.”
His countenance totally changed and he asked, “Are you some kind of priest, a pastor, or something?” I responded, “Yes, something like that….”
Then Justin asked, “Would you pray for me? My life is kindda a mess right now.”
Justin and I talked about why we can’t earn our way to heaven and why Jesus had to die on a cross. Justin and I prayed together and he started a new journey of understanding what it means to be forgiven and know Christ as his life.
I took Justin’s phone number and invited him to the 8:00 service. I told him that I understood that he had been up all night and might need to come to church another time. He got off at 7:00 and waited around so he could attend the 8:00 service! After the service, I introduced Justin to the Associate Pastor. The Pastor reported to me that Justin seemed very interested in building a relationship and said, “I’m really new at this….I could use a lot of help!”
Me too Justin! Every day I need the Gospel! Every day I need to know Christ as my life!
July 20, 2012
The next day I talked with a young man who opened up his heart to me. He asked me to pray that he would find ways to build relationships with his neighbors—and share Christ.
We talked about his struggle and the various things he had tried to meet his neighbors. Although he longed to do more, I was impressed with his heart and thought one of his approaches was worth mentioning here…
My friend is a dad to young children. During the school year he takes his son to the bus stop VERY early in the morning. Other dads on his street take their children to the bus stop as well–so the bus stop has become a great place to meet neighbors–during the school year.
But it’s summer now and school is not in session. My friend realized he must look for other ways to talk with these dads and he must find ways to take the conversations to a deeper level —than what starts at the bus stop.
My friend is not pleased. But as I listened, I had to wonder: how many believers, living in the big cities of North America, go to the bus stop looking for ways to build relationships? At least he cares. At least he sees the need to meet other dads and long for them to know Christ.
Oh that God’s people would start a new kind of bus ministry!
July 19, 2012
In the late 1960s, and throughout the 70s, many growing churches had bus ministries. If you heard the words “Bus Ministry” – you would envision concerned and loving church members visiting on Saturday and running bus routes on Sunday. They would pick up children (whose parents were not attending church) and many of these children came to know Christ—and some of their families eventually trusted Christ. But over the years most Bus Ministries died out—for lots of reasons.
This week I heard two great stories that involved buses in the big city. I found myself chuckling and saying, “now that’s a different kind of bus ministry.”
I thought I would share these stories with my prayer network and it might give you ideas about how to pray for church planters and the cities where they serve. The methods may change because of time and location–but the Message of Christ still transforms lives.
Check back the next couple of days I’ll share these stories with you. For today—pray for one of the big cities in North America where lots of people use public transportation.
July 10, 2012
Yesterday, we met with a builder. He comes from a family that has been long time friends of the Colemans. He is easy to talk with and helped us work through the details on the addition of the garage. And, I told him:
“this garage is a test. If we can come through this in one piece—we’ll talk about the rest of the remodeling that we need to get done.”
We’ve been praying about this for months and feel like this is a clear breakthrough. So, thanks for joining us in this journey.
Miami is part of the Send City strategy to reach North America.
Yesterday a couple of the next steps started to come into focus. We are planning a special conference with the IMB—it’s called EthneCity. If we are going to reach the cities of North America, we have to recognize diversity and the different People Groups (ethne) living in the cities.
Also, we are looking to help church planters host some special events that give them ways to serve their communities and make more connections. More on this later….
I am going to Miami next week to spend some time with local leadership talking about this work and praying for God’s direction. Pray for Miami.
July 7, 2012
The theme of this year’s Grandparent Camp was “Fruit of the Spirit.” We reviewed the memory verses (Gal 5:22-23) with a song…and the guys put it into a military cadence during our early morning walk.
Then our pastor asked me to preach tomorrow morning– want to guess on what topic? The Fruit of the Spirit. Thanks to the Grandkids I have had this passage on my heart for weeks. One sermon is not enough to unpack every word (Will Toburen and I preached a 3 part series back in 2006 and still couldn’t cover it all).
These verses have been working on me for years–and intensely during the last few weeks. As I prepare to share tomorrow I’m looking for a simple way to summarize the depths of this section.
- Root: Fruit comes from a Root. Only those born of the Spirit can bear the Fruit of the Spirit.
- Relationship: Not religion, rules, rituals or regulations. Relationship with God and the flow of Spirit Life puts the Life of Christ on display through His People.
- Response: We live, we walk, we are led, we follow. We do not create the fruit but we cooperate with the Life of indwelling Holy Spirit.
Prayer partners: there are two services. One traditional (at 9:00 a.m.) and one contemporary at 11:00.
July 4, 2012
Lots of people have checked out the blog….and I’m assuming that means you are responding to our request for prayer partners!
We have seen the hand of God moving through relationships and giving clarity of thought on some key decisions. Here are some updates (and additions) to the requests from the first of the week…
- KK and the Gilbert boys did fine on the trip to Boise. We really enjoyed seeing Mason and Zeke during these last few weeks and KK was glad to accompany them home to spend a couple of days with Josh & Erin.
- The garage: we will make some of the final decisions on Saturday and Monday. Always a little stressful when you want it to work for the next 30 years!
- Remodeling/updating KK’s dad’s house: we need some help on the design. Pray that we can find the right person/people to assist us.
These may sound like simple things but we need a place to entertain, have overnight guests, etc. KK needs a kitchen that is functional. We need to get our stuff out of storage. Until these things are settled—we feel unsettled.
Ministry: some major LoveLoud initiatives that I am working on this week:
- East St. Louis Ministry Center expansion project– we believe this is the right direction and we are starting the process
- City partnership with H.I.S. BridgeBuilders– need to determine how to set up training & multiplication
- Pilot Project with Connect Ministries– great meeting! Now, we visit the Send Cities that will host pilot projects 2013/2014. Pray for the right relationships to make this work!
- Next Steps to expand Volunteer Mission Projects: working out the kinks on new platform. Will have test site in August
- Faith and Work Roundtable: Decided to postpone for a few weeks. Good decision and prayer clarified it. Thanks!
- Send North America Conference the end of July: working on presentations.
Ministry: Preaching this weekend at our new “home church” (Northside Roswell) Studying the “Fruit of the Spirit” from (Gal 5:12-25)
Thanks for reading and praying. It is hard to describe the strength that I am receiving from your interest.