If you will walk in My ways,Zechariah 3:6-10
And if you will keep My command,
Then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts;
I will give you places to walk
Among these who stand here.
‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest,
You and your companions who sit before you,
For they are a wondrous sign;
For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold, the stone
That I have laid before Joshua:
Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts,
‘Everyone will invite his neighbor
Under his vine and under his fig tree.’”
The LORD has marvelously answered prayers for me this week. On Monday I prayed a prayer from the heart, for God to "let me out" into a place that His Spirit already is, because of the teachings of 1 John from Sunday school and the Forgotten God study on Monday morning. I am beginning to see a wide distinction between asking God to live Christ through me to others, and getting "out" into the place where God is working powerfully all the time. I believe that Jesus is the gate and it only opens by pursuing Him. I don't desire new people, I don't desire to go new places; I desire to see God create revived interest in following Him. That is what I see happening this week and it is an answer to my heart!
What happens next? I suppose I should take this open door and "interview" Animal. I realize that the situation might not correspond with my hopes or ideas, and I'm okay with that. A lot of following the Spirit for me, has been walking by faith through one door and into a dead end. But the dead end usually has a side door and it goes on and on just like that, so I never really have an idea for sure of what God is up to. Knowing is not the point. Praying, is the point, praying with people and telling them my testimony of God's power, loving them, accepting them like Jesus does. And most importantly, looking to see what activity in the Spirit is happening in the lives of those I meet - calling it for what it is, and encouraging more of the same.
I'm not perfect at this, sometimes I feel God leading me to hold my tongue out of grace, oftentimes I don't see anything happening spiritually so I testify in the mess and move on. Sometimes I even disobey what God is telling me because in the moment there is something that discourages me or bothers me. It's not about me. God can use my failures for His distinguishment.
I spoke with an ex-Crip yesterday and he told me that the juggalo life is nothing like gangs, and even the gangs here are nothing like they are in places such as southern California. This was encouraging. I'm sure after reading the last post you feel much the way I do; it was a fearful discussion of hatchets and machetes and so on. But I have found that details can always overwhelm the natural man if I let them. Let the day's trouble be sufficient for the day. By faith I will cross the disturbances each opportunity presents. And I trust God to lead me or close doors, having already counted the cost of my very life in prior experiences.
Think of all of the things J.K. has opened up about. They want to gather together for the feeling of a unified family. They welcome outcasts. They share everything in common. Sounds like Acts chapter 2!! The image of God is just calling out from inside of these people. What if all it took was a season of investment to scratch away the facepaint of the sinful nature??
I can go by myself. I think it would be neat if there was a Christian who is operating out of the Spirit who wants to go with me. This is a real appointment that needs a reply soon, to investigate what God is capable of doing at this time. It is not really that daunting; our church downtown has many men from the Mission who come in to worship on Sunday. We're returning the favor and accepting an invitation to visit this turf. I would love to learn about their families and see what God's Word has to say about family and unconditional love, and see how God might want to work a sense of family according to God's design, into our lives. Of course I wish I had a family network who I could invite them into or better said, a family network who would engage the juggalos. That's my dream. It would take a team of believers who feel sent. Our base of operations would have to invest time in and utilize a location in downtown Salem.
Not everybody is called to do death-defying mission. I don't want readers to compare themselves to me, but to look toward the Savior who did it all for them. How might Christ empower those reading this post, so that the juggalos might have eternal life and walk with God?
If God is not tugging at your soul to be sent to this people, who are you sent to? Who is under your vine? Who is under your fig tree, as Zechariah says?
|who would come under the Branch?|
'DQ Wall Vine' by EarthChildPhotography
Mission is important - everybody is a missionary, everybody is making disciples in the places where they spend their time, whether they understand that about themselves or not. You, the reader, are sent at least wherever you already are. Where are you reading this blog post right now? You are on mission right there. ;)
Incarnation is equally important. People are not targets. Telling people the gospel in two minutes is good, but it won't reach everyone. Most people need to "get" the gospel by seeing it demonstrated in a safe atmosphere of acceptance and intimacy. This is the way Jesus made his 12 disciples. "Belong first, believe second." It's not a model for figuring out who is going to heaven, or who is "the church" theologically speaking - but it is the method by which Jesus did discipleship.
I hope that the reader will catch the scent that is blowing. It's His Family. God wants to do something amazing. He is asking us to step out by faith and scratch the surface facepaint on all of us, not just the juggalos. It's inside of us, made possible only through the Spirit. He has big plans for joy and power in life, and His glory. All we have to do is walk in to it. I am so blessed to have many pastor friends who inspire me, but Jesus Christ is my pastor. He has been pouring meaning and purpose into me at the seasons when no one has been there to uncover the Kingdom in me, when the enemy's spiritual forces have blocked the dream He gave. I am longing to be reminded of who I am, too. I don't want those reading here to be without a cheerleader in their adventure, and being a part of their mission would satisfy this longing in me too - win win. God makes Family. He wants to make Family for everyone under our vine. Luke 17:20-21,
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Please tell what the Spirit has put in your heart, in a comment below or while face to face.