Black Family Update

The Black Family

Serving God with Life Action Ministries

 

Blessings from the Blackpack.   We are in awe of how God is changing families around the country and you are a big part of that!  To that we say THANK YOU! Wow! 2015 has started with a schedule of five 4-day Thirst Conferences.  Our team reunited after Christmas break the first week of January in Picayune MS. From there we traveled to our hometown of Dothan, AL and then on to Fayetteville, GA, Augusta, GA and Keystone Heights, FL.  These churches were very gracious in their giving and attendance was good for most conferences.  God moved in significant ways in the lives of many and we are amazed at the lives changed in the four short days we were with each of these church families.  Our prayer is that lives will continue to change long after we are gone and communities will be changed for the glory of our great God.  We are so excited to share some of the stories with you…

My daughter and I were battling each other like WWIII.  We were hurtful, negative and could not get along. Tuesday night of the conference God spoke to me about getting it right. I followed through at asking her to forgive me and told her I loved her. She did the same. Wednesday was a total different day. PTL

I had been harboring so much anger towards myself but God has allowed me to release that and give my burdens to Him. I know that He is with me now and won’t let me go.  -Victoria  Fayetteville, GA

God has especially revealed to me that I have been harboring bitterness and resentment toward a person from a past relationship. I no longer hold this resentment because God has shown me how this affects other relationships and how I should be reflecting His image.  -Andrew  Fayetteville, GA

I find myself “leaking” and get upset and irritable towards my family, friends, and coworkers. God has shown me the importance of filling myself with His spirit and love so that He spills out when my cup is shaken.  -Karen  Augusta, GA

I have learned this week that I need to be a more Christ like mom. Yes we attend our church for almost all events and have been here all week, however, when we get home we are far from Christ Like. Yelling, arguing, disobedience and much frustration. I need to pour more of God’s word into my heart so that it overflows to my children.  -Danielle  Augusta, GA

 

Coming into February we have an exciting month ahead. This month we will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. Please pray that God will continue to strengthen our marriage during this season of ministry on the road and that we will be a testimony to the glory of the Lord.  Lindsey will be turning 13 on the 28th and our team members must decide by the end of February whether they will continue to travel into the 2015/2016 travel season.  We would also ask that you continue to be in prayer for the sell of our house in Dothan Alabama as well as continued safety for our family as we travel.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We love and appreciate each of you and are blessed continually by your faithfulness in giving and praying for our family.  Our family would consider it an honor to pray for you and your family.  We encourage you  to  submit  any prayer requests  you may  have  or  you  can  email  them to   lblack@lifeaction.org.  Have a blessed day and we look forward to hearing from you!

Much love. The Black Family

sblack@lifeaction.org                    lblack@lifeaction.org

 

P.S. We have begun sending our newsletter by email.  Please help us cut cost and more effectively serve God with our funds by sending your email address to lblack@lifeaction.org or text it to 334-791-1487.  We would like to send our ministry updates via email but if you do not have or use email we will happily send these via snail-mail. Please let us know if you prefer postal delivery so that we will not ask for this information again.

This post is a copy of our January/February Newsletter.   If we do not have your email address and you would like to have the newsletter emailed to you in the future, please send your email address to lblack@lifeaction.org

Bend us, sometimes even break us…

 

While in Kansas City, Missouri the Lord blessed us with a little snow.  I say blessed because our family has never experienced snow and because it was not enough to stop normal activity.  Many of you are chuckling now because you do experience snow on a regular basis and it does bring everything to a stop.  The picture included here is a small snapshot of what we were amazed by.  The little snow we have seen has always been wet snow in a very humid part of the country and melts almost as soon as it lands.  This snow, however, stayed in perfect little shapes like you sprinkle on cupcakes or sugar cookies.  It was amazing to see the design and creativity in each little flake.  I had heard stories of each snowflake being its own design and no two snowflakes being the same but I had never actually experienced it.  I was so amazed that I ran around snapping pictures of little areas of flakes and this one shot you have here is one of my favorites.

 

 

I am reminded of the name Yatsar (yaw-TSAR) a name for God which means The Potter.  Mary Southerland says it best when she says that if we try to shape ourselves we fail miserably and often settle for so much less than what God has in mind.  The Potter wants to create something eternally beautiful He wants to make us more like His Son, Jesus.  Complete surrender means we yield to Him with no ifs, ands or buts, allowing Him to bend us, sometimes even break us, and change us.  He works with a specific vision in mind, a one-of-a-kind design for you and for me.  Shane and I learned this when we surrendered to Life Action Ministries in November 2010, we both had a heart for the Road Team Ministry, we wanted to minister together as a family on a full time basis.  We were told this would be impossible, so after tears, prayers and many months God changed our hearts and our prayers to “Lord, we want to live for Your glory alone, wherever You decide to put us.”  God took us through those months molding and shaping us to be more dependent on Him, to live in utter dependence on God is to trust Him with our plans, desires, families, homes, lives, everything.  He is preeminent and our lives should be prioritized around Him.

November 2013, three years after we joined Life Action Ministries, God placed us physically where He had placed our hearts in 2010, in Road Team Ministry.  We are still amazed at how He works, grateful that He is in control, sees all things, knows all things and has the perfect plan for each and every one of us.  Blessings to you and may you seek Him with all your heart and be known by His love.  Leigh

“Go down a deserted camp road for one lady” in Winfield Pennsylvania

Our first summit found us in Winfield Pennsylvania where we were expectantly awaiting God to show us something new and exciting about Himself.  I spent most of the time with pneumonia and Shane and the others diligently filled in where necessary. A precious couple  Bill and Sue,  joined us on the ‘camp out’ and ministered to our families and the team by fixing broken parts, emptying black water tanks, building propane tank carriers, building sound board platforms, running errands, filling in for our truck to back up the trailer, being Joshua’s constant companion and babysitting while Shane and I were at the hospital.  Bill and Sue were servant hearted and tireless as  they worked alongside our team.

Grace and Ema Kate celebrated their 14th and 9th birthdays in Winfield, our family visited the Hershey Factory and Shane and Grace were able to spend an afternoon at a shooting range with all sorts of new toys.  Grace is a very good shot and she is now learning archery.

Our favorite part of Winfield is the last day, the day we pulled out to leave.  We were scheduled to leave before 7 am, we had a long travel day ahead of us.  Because we were unable to empty our black water on church grounds (a service truck had been coming to empty us for two weeks)  we had scheduled to empty at a local campground, we even prepaid because we would be dumping before 7am that morning when everyone would be asleep. Well, we overslept, the  semi got stuck in the grass and could not be hooked to the trailer to back it out so we could move to the next church.  Bill hooked his Chevrolet truck to the trailer and moved it where it needed to be,  but as we hooked up something jammed and we were unable to lock the trailer in place for a secure fit and lock.  As I watched the men trying to get the hookups just right I began to pray for direction and favor and it was then that God prompted me that He wanted to reroute our schedule.  I assumed we would have to cancel our hotel reservations for that evening and stay  somewhere closer.  I asked God to make it clear who He wanted us to minister to or share with and was fully prepared to rearrange our carefully planned travel schedule. A deacon in the church rushed over and fixed the hook up problem.  Finally! we were on our way to the campground to empty our tank. The suburban’s battery died, Bill thought it was the alternator and promised to fix it before the team drove it to Tennessee.   Shane had driven through the tiny campground several times but that morning, caught between the camp office and a large tree, we began to pray to keep from crying.  After a little mathematics and lots of prayer and sweating we wiggled through without tearing anything down.  At this point in time it was well past 10 am and everyone was awake.   We had drawn a few spectators and in that crowd was Susie.  As our family climbed out of the truck to pray a prayer of thanksgiving Susie walked up and heard our prayer.  She asked if we thought God was real and ‘up there somewhere’  as I talked with her she shared with me that her husband had recently died and she did not want to go home to Virginia because she was afraid to face a house full of memories. She wanted to know how to live alone and was there any hope.  I couldn’t believe it! God had delayed us over 3 hours to go 1/2 mile for this one person that He wanted to show His love.  I was able to share with Susie how much God loves us and that Jesus is her hope and comfort, how He has been so faithful to me and our family and He can be for her as well.  Several days later I felt led to send Susie a letter detailing the many crazy events of that morning, some of which I did not even include in this post… just to let her know the lengths to which our precious Father in heaven will go to show us He loves us.  Of course Jesus is the ultimate picture of how He loves us, but isn’t it amazing how He continues to show us in little day to day things.  Sometimes I still cannot believe that we were chosen for this crazy, funny, maddening, lovely, daunting, beautiful, frightening adventure.  Pray that we will bring Him great glory, as He is the only One who deserves it. And pray that Susie will know the saving grace of Jesus and the freedom in surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  Thanks for stopping by. Leigh

 

….SECURELY FASTENED!

….SECURELY FASTENED!

 “A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

John Steinbeck

Wow, what a journey! Since January of this year we have been to 12 churches, 12 cities, and 7 states. Shane has preached almost 100 sermons, Leigh has ministered to countless ladies, and Grace and Lindsey spoke to students at a school assembly (which God used, partly, to spark a revival in the school). Needless to say, it has been a wild ride! But, our Lord has been faithful as He has held us securely fastened in His right hand! Praise be to our great and mighty King!

We began our travels not really knowing what to expect….boy is that an understatement. Our first Summit began with trailer problems and trailer problems pretty much followed us for the rest of our journey through May (overflowing toilets, broken toilets, leaking dishwasher, leaking ceiling, molded carpet, bent trailer jacks, frozen pipes, frozen black water tank, busted and leaking black water tank, clogged black water lines, broken air conditioner, ruptured hydraulic line, open propane gas line, no heat in 0 degree weather, melted electrical plug, and hub failure to name a few). God was merciful through our trailer problems as all of the problems, except for one (which was on the side of the interstate), were at the churches. So, we were able to call someone in to fix the problems. Thank you God! Leigh adds that riding behind Shane, as he drove the semi pulling the trailer, really gave a new meaning to earnestly praying! Now that we are on the other side of the wild ride, we say, “It was well worth it.” We were honored to be able to see God transform us and the lives of many others. Here are just a few of the testimonies we have gathered:

 
God has worked in me in such painful, beautiful, almost indescribable ways during the revival. I have had healing from scars of being touched by a step-dad in a sexual way as a 2nd-3rd grader. I have understood forgiveness in a whole new way. My husband and I have greater intimacy. I’ve found anger, pride, idolatry that was hidden deep and wrapped up in pretty wrapping paper. I have been completely broken, completely restored. I am amazed at my God. Tonya, Pikeville, KY
 
At the beginning of the week God found me not excited about revival or Life Action. I came the first Sunday merely to show my husband how much better I am than him. We have some very difficult times in our marriage. Once the Lord got done touching my husband’s life and the dust settled, I became a bitter and angry person who was beginning to question God’s motives and how he was handling my life. Like I said, the first night I was here to humble my husband. The second night was the same. Much to my chagrin, my husband kept showing up every night too! The third night, God showed me that I needed to get out of the way and let him work on my husband. I obeyed and the end of the week has found us closer than ever as a couple. Closer than ever to God. I am so thankful Life Action came to our church and so thankful that God has shown his wonder to my family. Carrie, St Marys, GA
 
All I had to show was what a mess I had made of my life, trying to fix it all on my own. My marriage was falling apart, my kids were scared of “mommy getting mad” and I lived a life collecting possessions that meant nothing and eating to comfort myself. I didn’t come to the summit at all for fear of being revealed for who I really was. I came the second Sunday morning (last day of the revival) and gritted my teeth the whole service trying not to be compelled by the Spirit. God grabbed me and showed me my immediate need for salvation. I was able to surrender my life, my heart, my whole self to Christ and as I did the hurt and anger of a life of sin melted away. I am filled with joy and excitement. Sarah, St Marys, GA
 
I have been struggling for some time now with anger and bitterness toward my husband for past sins. I have been the lonely woman you told us about on Sunday, and still am, but with God’s help I am giving it all to him. I am taking bold steps, but it is a start and I am starting to feel His presence again. Karen, Leesville, SC
 
I have been impressed to have devotions with my wife. She was unable to come because she was recuperating from an operation. There are other areas of my life that need improvements and I will be working on that. Thomasville, GA
 
God met me at my lack of prayer and devotion time to Him. I have both, just not enough or the quality it should have been at. My wife and I have started praying together again. We did until we had kids, our oldest is ten. But now we have started back. It was a great experience this week meeting God every night. We had a great time. Jason, Thomasville, GA
 
There are many ways the summit has ministered to me. I love the emphasis on practical application of Biblical principles, especially at Home Life Café. The teachings each evening challenged me to think of forgiveness and pride as the breakers of unity in the church. I have many wonderful resources now in your literature such as the Put off/Put on pamphlet. I have begun working through each one daily and will be able to share with others. I especially love the children and youth programs as I have 8 grandchildren participating! They have not wanted to miss a single night!! They have memorized verses and worked through the take home questions regularly. Thank you for pursuing the next generation through truth and love. The most moving evening was watching my three sons-in-law, each in a huddle with their wives and children, praying for them. Then to see our church sanctuary lined around completely with our men is a sight that is forever etched in my mind. I feel compelled to pray daily for them all as a result of that incredible picture. Thank you for the teaching on Gatekeepers. Priscilla, Rocky Mount, NC
 
I have been blessed by our times together this week. The worship, fellowship, and encouragement are always tremendously important to me. I was most convicted in [family revivalist’s] message on Sunday morning in looking at a couple of areas in my life that indicate spiritual dryness. There were things I was already bothered by, but I was encouraged during that time. First Baptist Vidalia, GA
 
God opened my eyes to everything I thought I was doing right with my family. I learned how to love my wife and daughter the way Christ wants me to. I have also been having a hard time with anger. I was blaming it on other people and not that it was ME not walking with God wholly and fully. These things are going to have to be a day by day step, but with the Lord I can do it all. Thank you all for the love, prayers, and excitement the team brought to me and my family. Brian W, Mineral Wells, TX
 

This is just a small portion of what God has allowed us (our family and your family) to be a part of over the last five months. You have made it possible for us to travel this journey because of your faithful prayers and support. You have allowed our family to see Christ in you as you have remained at home and stood in the gap! Oh, how grateful we are to you! We desperately need you on our team. All of you are a vital part to our ministry efforts. Again, God is making it possible through you! To Him, alone, be the praise!!!

 

We are looking forward to our upcoming travel season beginning in September. We would ask you to begin praying for Leigh as she will start doing Ladies Luncheons. This will give her an opportunity to share her story with other ladies. You can keep up with our schedule at www.lifeaction.org under the ‘Happening Now’ tab (We are the Red Team).

 

Also if you would like to become a part of our ministry financial support team you can go to www.lifeaction.org/sblack to set up your giving. We are currently at about 90% of our support budget. Be sure to follow us on Facebook (Shane-Leigh Black and ourfamilyHisglory) and on Twitter (@DrAShaneBlack).

 

Come join us as we begin another leg of ‘The Wild Ride”! Look for pictures to come in our next newsletter! As wild as the ride has been we are glad to just get this newsletter out while on furlough! 😉

 

Awaiting His Fire to fall,

‘The Black Pack’

Shane, Leigh, Grace, Lindsey, Margaret, Ema, Anna Claire, and Joshua

 
 

ROLLIN’, ROLLIN’, ROLLIN’

In 2006 we built our dream house.  We built it with our growing family in mind…..plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, a playroom, a school room, a pool, a pool house, and most importantly full of a lot of love!  You see, we were planning to retire here and have a place our children and grandchildren could come back to for years to come.  Again, we were building our dream home.

Well, the Lord was in the process of pouring the footings (or lack there of) for our new home!  It is a good thing the Lord did not invite me in on this building project because I would not have been an easy sub-contractor to deal with!  “Lord, are You sure this is enough square footage.  Lord, this thing has wheels.  Lord, the walls are like two inches thick.  Lord, really, where are we going to put everything?  Uh…You are joking right!?”  I mean, this is not what my family had in mind when we were thinking of a home to live in.  And we were definitely not thinking about living from church parking lot to church parking lot!  God, You cannot be serious!  Or, Could He?

Serious indeed!  Last week I flew to Buchanan, MI and picked up our ‘new ride’.  Wait a minute….I meant our ‘new home’.  Or is it a ‘ride’?  Oh yeh, it is both!  Come on Lord!  Seriously!  YEP!  So here we go on our new journey with our new ‘home/ride’ in tow.  We will be traveling from church parking lot to church parking lot preaching the revival message to families.  We are serving with Life Action Ministries.  It is amazing how our Lord has taken us from the desire to live in a large house for our ‘large family’ to living in a house on wheels.  We are in awe at His molding our hearts to follow Him for His glory.  Now hear me out!  We are not beginning this journey with naivety.  We are very aware that this journey will be tiring and difficult.  We know that we will face great trials.  We know that our family will be under attack.  It has already begun.  However, we are also learning that our God is bigger than all of this.  We are learning that this new journey is all about Him and we want to be right where he has us.  No where else!

So, “Ho Ho…Ho Ho, on the road we go!”  But, we will not go unless the Lord goes with us!  And He has promised us just that!  Family, hang on! Cuz the Lord has a ride (home?…whatever!) in store for us!

You can see our schedule on our ministry page!

Shane Black

WE HAVE DISCOVERED FULL-TIME MINISTRY IS NOT FOR OUR FAMILY!

Our family originally surrendered to full time ministry in October of 2010.  We were attending a Life Action Summit in our home town when the Lord revealed to us that He wanted our family to begin full time ministry serving with Life Action Ministries.  We felt like that within a few months we would be on the road to Michigan serving full time.  Well…..the Lord had something else, entirely, in mind.

A lot of time has gone by since that original moment of surrender.  We have been on a long and seemingly slow journey.  We have spent many days and nights wondering what was going on.  Our thoughts and concerns have been as follows…….”I mean come on, we surrendered ‘our all’ Lord.  Why haven’t You seen to it that everything falls into place on our time schedule?  You called us, right?  We have a vision of what everything should look like and when everything should take place!  Can’t You see it too, Lord?  What is the issue here Lord?”

Well, as the Lord took us on this ‘long and seemingly slow journey’ He had a lot that he desired to show us.  I would ask you to go back and re-read our thoughts and concerns again.  Do you see any problems?  Did you notice the pronouns?  We…..our…..us……we……!  All of our concerns appear on the surface to be about the Lord’s involvement in this process.  However, below the surface you will see hearts that were only concerned about ourselves…..our surrender, our time schedule, our vision, our issues!

You see, we felt like we had it all figured out.  And we did in our feeble, finite little minds!  But, God wanted us, mostly me, to see a very important truth.  Are you ready?  Here it is!  Ministry is not for us…..ministry is for the glory of our Great, Wonder Working God!  God needed us to see that…. yes, He does have everything worked out….yes, He does know the time schedule (He made it for crying out loud)….yes, He does know what we surrendered and what we did not surrender….yes, He did call us….yes, He does have a vision…..and yes, He sees everything…..and most importantly it is not about us!  Rather it is about HIM and the advancement of HIS Kingdom.  Which means it is about you as well!  All of you!  Everyone reading this blog!  And everyone that will never read this blog!  God’s ministry in our lives is about you!

What an honor!  Our Lord has invited us to go on His journey with Him!  We have an opportunity to see our God do things that are far greater than anything we could ever imagine!  Things that we cannot explain away with our abilities and giftedness!  Things that will leave us saying, “But GOD!”  Things that will impact His Kingdom for eternity!  Do you get it guys?!  We get to be a part of something that is much, much, much bigger than our little family and our comfort and our wants and our conveniences!  We get to be a part of history making!  We get the opportunity to see God leave a blazing fire burning in our path for the HIS glory!

As I close, I would say one more thing…..”Look out across the horizon and watch for the ‘Fire of our Lord” burning brightly, and then come join Him.”  You see, He may want you to be a part of something that is all about Him!

 

Shane Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LORD’S TIMING IS PERFRECT!!

Christmas is nearly upon us and we are almost, exactly to the date, three years from having the official call to Life Action Ministries. God moved on our hearts to surrender to full time ministry in November of 2010.  Now in November of 2013 we have been asked to go on the road with the Red Team beginning in January 2014.  Shane will be serving in the position of Family Revivalist.  Being a part of God transforming families is the heart beat of our family.  So we could not be more excited!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

Our family is in awe of the things God has taught us over these last three years. We are excited to see what changes and growth He has in store for us through this new season of ministry!  We are humbled by your prayers and support and ask that you continue to pray for our family. Pray that we will seek to be continually under His authority, in His will, teachable and joyfully serving Him.  Pray that we will trust Him with the dynamics of road life and new relationships. We will continue to pray for all of you and miss you as well.

Please be sure to visit our website, ourfamilyhisglory.org often to see how God is moving on the hearts of His people. The website should have a schedule of the churches we will be ministering in and our family’s prayer concerns. Please include how we can be praying for you on the site or if it is too personal you can email, text or call us directly. We love you and love to pray for you.

We want to extend our deepest gratitude for those of you who that have been supporting us financially.  We would not be able to do this with out you.  Please continue to send your gifts the same way you have been doing.  Your gifts are a blessing to us and they speak volumes of your sacrifice and dedication to the glory of our Lord!!  Having you on our ministry team points us to the love and faithful provision of Christ!

As always, may we forever be in awe of His grace and striving to glorify Him in all we think and say and do.  You will be in our hearts and prayers as we go to share God’s message of restoration and love.  We pray that God will bless you for your faithfulness to His ministry.  We leave you with the message God has been plowing, cultivating and nurturing in our family….

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3

 

Wonderfully made, securely hidden, and

awaiting His Fire to fall,

 

Shane and Leigh Black and Family

sblack@lifeaction.org; lblack1487@gmail.com

Shane: 334-791-1488; Leigh: 334-791-1487

TO MEET SUCH A MAN

This post is not original to me!!!  Someone posted this on Facebook and I wanted to share it with all of our followers.

So…ENJOY…and may it touch you as it did me!

Shane

 

I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square.. The food and the company were both especially good that day.
As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, ‘I will work for food.’ My heart sank.
I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him.. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.
We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.
Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: ‘Don’t go back to the office until you’ve at least driven once more around the square.’
Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square’s third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.
I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s newest visitor.
‘Looking for the pastor?’ I asked.
‘Not really,’ he replied, ‘just resting
‘Have you eaten today?’
‘Oh, I ate something early this morning.’
‘Would you like to have lunch with me?’
‘Do you have some work I could do for you?’
‘No work,’ I replied. ‘I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.
Sure,’ he replied with a smile.
As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. Where you headed?’
‘ St. Louis
‘Where you from?’
‘Oh, all over; mostly Florida ‘
‘How long you been walking?’
‘Fourteen years,’ came the reply.
I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, ‘Jesus is The Never Ending Story.’
Then Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.
He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God
‘Nothing’s been the same since,’ he said, ‘I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.’
‘Ever think of stopping?’ I asked.
‘Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles.. That’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.’
I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: ‘What’s it like?’
‘What? ‘
‘To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?’
‘Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn’t make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me.’
My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, ‘Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food , when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.’
I felt as if we were on holy ground. ‘Could you use another Bible?’ I asked.
He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. ‘I’ve read through it 14 times,’ he said.
‘I’m not sure we’ve got one of those, but let’s stop by our church and see’. I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.
‘Where are you headed from here?’ I asked..
‘Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.’
‘Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?’
‘No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.’
He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we’d met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.
‘Would you sign my autograph book?’ he asked. ‘I like to keep messages from folks I meet.’
I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.’
‘Thanks, man,’ he said. ‘I know we just met and we’re really just strangers, but I love you.’
‘I know,’ I said, ‘I love you, too.’ ‘The Lord is good!’
‘Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?’ I asked.
‘A long time,’ he replied
And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, ‘See you in the New Jerusalem .’
‘I’ll be there!’ was my reply.
He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, ‘When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’
‘You bet,’ I shouted back, ‘God bless.’
‘God bless.’ And that was the last I saw of him.
Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them… a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. Then I remembered his words: ‘If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’
Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. ‘See you in the New Jerusalem,’ he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will…

If this story touched you, forward it to a friend!
‘I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.’

ARE WE COMING TO THE RESCUE?

30 Dolphins Stranded and Saved

As I watched this video I began to think of all of the people that we come into contact with every day (hundreds if not thousands) that are rapidly “swimming” their way to a certain death as well. We have friends, acquaintances, and family that God has placed in our path because they are headed for a spiritual death. They are swimming along, following the currents of life…seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are headed for a certain destructive end. These people need God to rescue them and we are the vessels that He chooses to use. As I watched all of the heroes in this video coming to the aid of the dolphins, I noticed it began with only a few. Then more and more came to help in this beautiful rescue of these helpless creatures. This causes me to ask…”Where are the heroes of the faith today in your community….is it you?” “Where are the few…?” Could it be that the “many” are just waiting for the “few” to step up and come to the aid of those around us that will surely die without our Savior? Imagine with me if this video would have had a completely different scenario. What if the people on the beach would have just stood there and watched the dolphins flap and flutter on the shore, struggling as they breathed their last breathe? Then, we see everyone standing around their lifeless, still bodies. WOW! THEY DID NOTHING! OUTRAGED! They could have done something! But these people were more concerned with themselves than the lives of these dolphins. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! They just stood there as if to say, “Sorry….you are going to have to die without my help!” Fellow believers, where is our outrage? Why are we not concerned about the eternal finality of the souls around us? Could it be that we are more concerned with ourselves? Our comfort? Our convenience? Our time? Our schedule? Are we just standing here as if to say, “Sorry…you can just go to Hell! Without my help!”? Non believers, I don’t want you to die without knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord. You are a sinner and the wages of sin is death! But, God loves you so much that while you were a sinner and dead in your sin, He sent His only Son here to earth. Jesus was born and lived a perfect life that you and I should have lived. But, His Father placed upon Him the life that we lived. Jesus was crucified on a tree and He payed the price that you and I should have paid. And then He conquered death by rising from the grave and ascending to the right hand of His Father in Heaven. Now…here is the great news….DON’T MISS THIS! Now, for all who believe on Jesus Christ and turn from their sins, God will place upon them the life that Christ lived. He will forgive you of all your sins and give you eternal life. God will conquer your death! He will rescue you!  No one reading this post is reading it by chance! Believer…God wants you and me to share His gospel to a lost and dying world! Rescue the dying! Non-believer….God wants to rescue YOU! Read John 3:16!

 

We need You, Lord!  We desperately need YOU!

Shane

 

What If We “Really” Went To Church?

Have you ever thought about what church would look like if we really came to church.  I know what you are thinking right now, “‘Came to church’?  I am there every time the doors are open!”  Sunday after Sunday…Wednesday after Wednesday…meeting after meeting…event after event…we are ‘at church’.  You are ‘at church’, but the question that must be asked is …..how many of us really come to church?  I mean, I know we are there, but are we “really” there?

This question has become a haunting question for me for some time now.  However, it became much more real when a member of our church was giving a testimony of the struggles going on in her marriage.  She began to tell how the struggle had been going on for a while, but her family kept going to church Sunday after Sunday as if nothing were wrong.  Then she shared how her and her husband talked to their children about the struggles they were facing in their relationship.  Through this conversation a statement was made by one of the children, “We have gone to church for years thinking that we and everyone else had to be perfect.”

There you go! Finally! Someone said it out loud!  We have gone to church…thinking everyone had to be perfect, but knowing that we were not!  Oh, we are at church, but we are not “really” at church.  Rather, what happens is Sunday after Sunday, we get our messed up selves ready, we gather up our messed up families, and we all get in the vehicle and go to be with our church family that is perfect.  So in order for us to fit in with all the other “perfect” people, we put on our “perfect” mask right before we get to the “perfect” church and we do church’.  And many of us do church really well.  You can ask anyone.  Our family has it all together.  I mean just look at us, we are here every Sunday, our children behave, we are friendly with everyone, we smile and laugh, we have it all together.  Anyone would tell you that.  Really?  Looks that way…but what is going on behind the mask?

Can you relate to this scenario?  This is a very real scenario in families all over America.  We have bought into the lie of Satan and many times the lie of the church that we have to be perfect.  We have to be like all the other families that seem to have it all together.  It is safer if we just go to church and leave our messed up lives at home tucked deep into the back of our closets.  This makes church life so much easier, right?  The problem is….. this is not what God had or has in mind for His Church.  God desires for His church to be a vibrant community of believers using the gifts that he gave us to build each other up and in the process bring glory to Him!  Guys, we cannot live in community when we choose to go to church, but not “really” go to church.  We are all so busy covering up our messed up lives that we do not even realize we have brothers and sisters that are messed up as well.  And here is the great part….God has brought them into our lives because they need us!  He has equipped us to minister to them in a way that no one else can as effectively as we can.  More great news……this works the other way around as well!  God has these people in our lives because we need them!  We need each other involved in our messed up lives.  God promised that He would build His Church.  In his sovereignty, He has orchestrated a perfect symphony of lives into local bodies of believers, so that we can live in community…. building each other up….creating a song with our lives that sings a praise chorus that points each other and the world to HIM!  And, are you ready for this?  When we are truly communing with each other…really living life with each other…no longer hiding in the darkness of the lies of Satan…our messed up lives become washed by the grace of a loving and compassionate and healing God!  Our messed up lives create a melody that only God could orchestrate!

So…what if tomorrow, we all decided to “really” go to church?  I mean, we get our messed up selves ready and we gather up our messed up families…..but this time we take our “REAL” family to church.  The family that has decided to be “real”.  The family that has decided to stop hiding behind the mask and just doing church.  The family that is willing to be ourselves.  The family that is willing to admit that we are F.I.N.E……Fouled up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.  Church just might get a little messy tomorrow!  But you know what?  I think God wants to come and mess us up!  The truth is….this will never happen until we decide to “really” go to church!  How about you? Are you ready to bring your messed up self tomorrow and have some messed up church?  I am ready and I think it is the only healthy and healing choice we can make!

I need You, Lord!  I desperately need YOU!

Shane