Friday, June 20, 2014

Faith and Impudence

I was asked recently, "Is there anything you have asked God for that he has not given you?"

I thought about it for a minute and answered, "No."

Faith is knowing God. Faith is knowing God to be so good, so loving and so powerful that there is not a moment of hesitation in our thoughts that God may not do what we ask when we are aligned with his will. Faith is remembering and expecting.

I forget, and therefore, I doubt.

I need to share these stories of faith so that I do not forget, and so that we all can be encouraged in our faith when there are no visible signs of God at work. This is why God told Israel to celebrate all those festivals in Exodus and Leviticus and Deuteronomy: to remember who God is by celebrating what he has done.

Because there is nothing God has not given me that I have asked for - nothing hinders me except my own doubt and reluctance to throw myself all in and give up control. But faith remembers and gives control to God. And once faith remembers, it asks impudently. Faith makes outrageous requests, just like Jesus tells us to in Luke 11.

God can do anything. And when I ask, he gives. Simple as that. Not always as quickly as I would like, but he has never failed. So here is a list of remembrances that he has given me in the past 5 years:

- Permission to start the ministry in Troy
- Ordination
- A people in North Central
- A ministry partner - actually, many ministry partners
- The cafe building
- My cat came back after 2 weeks on the streets
- Money to quit my job and do ministry full time
- Friends
- Megablocks, etc.
- An altar
- A foosball table
- Finances for 4 years of ministry
- The middle-school girls
- The kid that I baptized
- An apartment
- A car
- Money to complete my STM degree
- The teenage boys in the park
- The adult community in North Central
- Beaver Cross scholarships for 10 kids
- Money for a new building to accommodate the growing ministry
- Now I am asking for the building

God has told us to ask for the city of Troy. I look at that list and wonder how I can think that is impossible. This blog exists so that we can all remember who God is. So, let's remember and ask. Boldly. Impudently. Without ceasing. And remembering the lavish, abundance of God's goodness to those who surrender to him.
[I thought I published this months ago, but apparently it never went through. Apologies]

North Troy is a neighborhood without fathers.

Amid the drugs, despair, poverty, gangs and anger, we constantly see children and teens who don't know the faithful, loving presence of a father in their lives.

So we tell them about The Father. The Good Father, who isn't like the fathers or mothers they've known. We tell them the story of the Prodigal Son enfolded in the Father's arms. We tell them so they can know the Father and become true fathers and mothers in the next generation.

There's a 7-year-old boy at Oaks who's preparing for baptism. His dad is in prison, and we see him struggle with turned-in anger and telling the truth. But, he has heard of The Father.

One Saturday during dinner, a few boys asked me why I always wear a crucifix. This little boy piped up, "I know why!"

I smiled at him. "Why?"

He said with beautiful confidence, "You wear it so you remember that God is your Real Father."