So I’ve been a little stressed lately. I’ve got a million things to do — work, taxes, emails, replies, petitions etc. — and my heart just hasn’t been in the fight this week. Really looking forward to eternity, and reeeeally struggling with this verse:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
— Galatians 6:9
I knew what I needed — solid Christian fellowship with faithful brothers and sisters. I also knew that it was completely impossible; with my schedule this week, there was no way I could say ‘yes’ to Conner’s invitation.
He had learned of another Christian concert playing in Santander Arena in Reading, like the one we visited this past January, and asked if I’d like to go once more to challenge our fellow believers to think and live rightly in the midst of our nation’s holocaust. It would just be him and me this time, but then I could sleep over at his family’s home, and the next morning (today) meet up with Liz and Allen to help them challenge a Crisis Pregnancy Center that Liz used to work with.
As it turns out, what is impossible with man is quite possible with God. Taxes? Apparently I have three extra days to complete them. Work schedule? Somehow I got all my forty hours in this week. Weariness in well-doing? The Lord gives us the grace we need, and the encouragement of awesome believers right when we need it :-)
When we arrived at the concert (too late to catch people in line), Conner and I reflected on the woman who helped us hold signs last time, and prayed that God would send us someone else to be an encouragement for us. He sent us at least two blessings — a security guard who ran interference for us with the angry venue, and a chance encounter with an old friend named Tim.
Like last time, the venue came out telling us all sorts of (blatantly false) things to get us to leave. Last time they called the police, and once more threatened to do the same, but a believing security guard named Pete informed them that we were allowed to be there, and they stopped bothering us. Later on, we had the privilege of speaking with him about abortion, abolition and the decaying state of the world.
LOTS of other great conversations with various passers by; I got to use my Spanish a lot, which was awesome. When the concert attendees finally came out, we burned through literature again like last time. Overall things were very relaxed, and we encountered a lot of kind and receptive people out in the culture. The Christians were a bit less receptive, which is both expected and sad. But overall, it made for a very refreshing night.
Then we saw Tim. “Who is Tim?” you might ask? Well, he’s an unbeliever that we shared Christ with on our way back to the cars after the last concert. As deja vu would have it, we happened upon him again, and shared Christ with him again, and prayed with him again. It’s funny; I’ve been praying that God would send other believers into his life to water the seeds that were sown. Never expected to be the answer to my own prayer, lol :-p.
Unfortunately the best parts of our conversation were cut off when my camera ran out of battery juice; a lot of it was wasted on a trip to the ATM. For the record, I generally don’t give people money out on the streets, but Tim’s need gave us more time to sow truth into his life and demonstrate the practical compassion of Christ, so I just asked him to spend it in a way that honors Jesus, and left things up to his conscience.
All in all, seeing Tim again was such a blessing from the Lord. It was almost like God was affirming the care He truly has for our requests, for the millionth time in my life. I got this, Nate. You asked for Tim; I’m going to give you Tim. God is pursuing that man; I look forward to hearing his story when we meet again in eternity. If I don’t run into him again sooner… ;-)
Hints of Spring
The concert kept us out pretty late, and we needed to rise super early the next morning. We headed back to Conner’s home for some much-needed rest, and…stayed up talking instead :-). Two of Conner’s sisters were still awake, watching Little House on the Prairie. We hung out, swapped stories, and generally enjoyed the fellowship of fellow believers.
I really like the Spring family. That’s not their real name of course (has becoming an abolitionist made me paranoid?), but they remind me of the season of Spring. The more time I spend with them, the more I feel as though their family reflects what the church should look like, if it would ever come out of this winter of self-centeredness.
Today I put my finger on it. Most Christian families I see are turned inward, concerned about simply making it through life while perhaps instilling some morals into the children, and hopefully seeing them come to know Christ. Whether or not the marriage even survives is a question.
The Springs however have created a family that is turned outward. They begin by placing Jesus at the center of family life, and that core drives the entire family to take the good news of Jesus on the offensive into every area of their lives. Rather than simply trying to defend the children from a dark world, the parents train them to live as lights that shine the light of Christ. And every child does his/her part.
They’ve adopted children from all around the world; right now they’re working on bringing in a new sister from Albania. Many of the older children go regularly to an abortion clinic in West Chester to share Christ and plead for the lives of other children. Today some of the younger girls set up a lemonade stand to raise money to help bring their new sister to America, and (on their own) thought to hand out gospel tracts along with the lemonade. I love this family.
I took a picture of the lovely note they left me on my pillow last night, but it has their family name on it, so I won’t post it. But they’re big on hospitality, and sharing the love and truth of Jesus with others. I’m learning a lot from them, and I wish that more families could study what they’ve created. It’s a beautiful thing.
Today all four of us were together, to challenge a pregnancy center in crisis. Liz knew the CPC well; she had been on the church advisory board for a while, and had fruitlessly discussed concerns with the woman in charge on various occasions. Sadly, like so many crisis pregnancy centers, this one believes it more practical to hide the gospel from the women coming into their center, to be more attractive and approachable. When the “gospel” is actually preached, from our discussions it seems to be a gospel that talks about God’s love, without touching on the truth about sin and what we need to be saved from.
They had a fundraiser today, a walk/run for life, so we came with signs to open dialog with those in attendance. And we had some good conversations. The woman in charge was “disappointed in Liz,” but several others involved with the center were caused to reflect on what they are doing, and whether it rests on the foundation of God’s word or the pragmatism of worldly thinking. I have some great conversations recorded, but the footage isn’t downloaded yet; I’ll toss them up in another post when I have some more time.
All in all, it was a great couple of days, and a great time of refreshing. In all of the conflict, all of the emotional and physical trials of life, obedience to God is the safest place to be. He sustains us in our weariness, and He provides for our all of our needs.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
— Matthew 6:26-33