We have issued ourselves a challenge…connect with 100 neighbors in 100 days! Truly connect! Learn his/her name, find out what he/she enjoys, swap stories of our spiritual heritages, and gather follow-up information. Our missional community is growing, we are meeting new neighbors at each of our monthly theme parties in our home, and God is prompting us to reach out even farther and connect even deeper. We know all too well that the spiritual warfare may be intense for these 100 days, but we believe God fights for us and will use this challenge in big ways! Please commit to pray for us specifically once a day, from Jan 26-May 5! If you’ve adopted a street in Lowry, pray specifically for the residents there, like never before! Many will be reached in this time! May His Kingdom grow and multiply and may Lowry see His light and His love in us!
For the past 6-12 months, I have lived and believed that God is my refuge more than ever. The attacks from the enemy and the trials of this life have been great, though we have kept much of it private. I have studied the Psalms and a wonderful friend has texted me many Psalms to pray aloud and cling to. I have prayed Psalms aloud, over my home and my children. I have praised God for what He has done and is doing to fight the battles for us all. I know we need only be still, but I admit that is a weakness of mine in my Christian walk. My trust is BIG, for I know the One who holds me in the palm of His hand and sings and rejoices over me. I know we are in His will as we live and love in Denver, beyond a shadow of a doubt. He is my refuge and strength and has for sure been an always present help in these months of troubles. Praise Him with me as we see follow Him on good days and bad!
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in Him at ALL times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:5-8
We had family portraits taken last weekend and I cried as I viewed the proofs. I saw evidence of God’s goodness, of the fact that the love He has given Eric and I is indeed a strand of three cords, not easily broken and that the trials the 4 of us have faced haven’t dimmed the light of our true joy, found only in Him!
Death. Something we all face, but not something we often ponder or dwell on, most likely. Especially not our own death. However, I’m in deep thought about it lately. See, I stared death in the face one year ago this week, and didn’t even know it. I mean, I knew I had excruciating pain, knew I was taken to the ER in the middle of the night, even knew I was having emergency surgery, but was too medicated for pain to care why or ask any questions. It wasn’t until this summer, when I chose a new general practice doctor and he reviewed my records that I even knew my official diagnosis, “cecal bascule”. Came home and googled it and found out it has a 50-85% mortality rate! Sobering reality! I sobbed and praised God for another chance! It is no accident that I am still here and I want to use every day well, glorifying God with my every action and word!
I took the kids to a free concert last weekend, a Christian group called For King and Country. We have several of their songs memorized and enjoy the sound and message. One of them spoke about why they wrote our favorite off their first album…he had a near fatal gastric issue (possibly cecal bascule?!? I don’t know) and realized he was given a second chance at life while young. This prompted him to write this song during his recovery and it is my current life anthem, in Lowry and beyond! I pray my life is proof of Gods love, to my family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers and those more difficult to love! I pray your life is proof, too…let’s don’t waste a single day, as it can be our last!
Earlier this week, our 7 year old daughter asked me, “Mom, why do people put dogs in fences if they really love to be free and just dig out anyway?” What great discussion followed! For years now, Eric and I have discussed authoring a book on this very topic and relating it to spiritual growth and struggles in the Christian life. You see, the simplest answer is that the fence gives the dog a boundary of protection, but within the boundary, the dog is truly free! Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”. Oh, if I and all of us would learn to love the boundaries/parameters God has given us and live completely freely inside them, rather than living as slaves to the law. Oh, that our parenting/discipling would reflect that! Moreso, may we stop crossing the boundary and questioning why negative consequences befall us. Christian friends, let’s live like the truly free folks we are, within our “freedom fences” and let’s praise God for true freedom today!
It’s time! Time for what, you say? Time for God to build His Kingdom here in Lowry! You may hear me squealing, no matter how far away you live! After having a mission team on the ground with us in Denver for a week, we’ve met enough folks interested in being part of Journeymen Church and gathering for Bible study and worship and service, that it is time! Praise God that very soon, we will begin hosting a weekly shared meal and Bible study, prayer and worship time in our home. We now know a few Christians in Lowry and we know God placed us all here for His glory and to help build His Kingdom! We will likely be hosting 2 different weekly gatherings with different groups, but more on that soon!
I’m studying Galatians in my quiet time and it is rich! I’m having to digest it very slowly and really pray for it to sink deep into my heart and spirit. So far, God is continually leading me into relationship with people much different than myself. He is stretching me way out of my comfort zone and my norm. He is breaking down walls and changing my perceptions to be more like His! Oh, that our family and the people of Lowry would get past the differences, look to Christ and be lovers of all people, knowing we all need grace and mercy daily! May our home and Journeymen Church reflect Christ and believe that we are all one in Christ Jesus! Pray, folks! Please pray! The attacks of the enemy are numerous as God begins to move in this neighborhood. Pray we will run with endurance and not grow weary and that the harvest will be plentiful! Get excited with us, because it is time!!
Before we moved to Lowry, like WAY before we moved to Lowry, I battled fear that I wouldn’t make friends, wouldn’t be liked, would be shunned because I came to share the Gospel and be a Biblical “neighbor”! I prepared for war and began to pray when I felt these fears, began to use scripture as my sword in this battle. I am truly humbled by what God has already done in answer to my desperate pleas for friendship and opportunities to show His love to my neighbors! I’m so honored that His love in me is drawing people into friendship with me, rather than pushing them away! Jesus is a friend to sinners, a friend to the friendless, a friend who loves at all times! I’ve prayed that He will help me be that kind of friend and will give me love for each neighbor, no matter who they are or what they’ve done! I’m pretty speechless that after 5 short months here, several neighbors trust me to watch their children, have invited me into their homes, call or text me just to chat, and make comments like “You’re the only neighbor who has ever invited me over,” or “You’re the only one we trust with our baby”. The best part is…it’s not me they’re noticing…it’s Christ in me! Without Him and His love, I’m nothing!
Love the song “Let My Life be the Proof” by For King and Country, especially the part where one quotes 1 Corinthians 13:1-3,
“If I can speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy
But don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rust gate
If I speak God’s word with power, revealing all of His mysteries
And making everything as plain as day
And if I have faith to say to a mountain jump and it jumps
But I don’t love, I’m nothing
If I give all I earn to the poor
Or even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr
But I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere
So, no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do
I’m bankrupt without love”! No matter how many times I’ve heard it, it always prompts me to action and reminds me why I’m here in Lowry! Thanks be to God for answering my prayers and for equipping me for His work!
Though Eric and I are church planters, what we really pray for and strive to foster in Lowry is community. When we visited Lowry many times, before becoming residents, we were told repeatedly by people of all ages, stages, and ethnicities that a main reason they moved to and stayed in Lowry is because of the strong sense of community. Yet, upon spending more time there and eventually becoming residents of Lowry ourselves, neighbors met in our home for the first time and neighbors said no one gets together regularly. We have begun to question how Lowry residents, our neighbors, would define community and we are praying and pleading with God to redeem the definition as only He can. I read this quote this week and I can’t get it off my mind…”Because of our idols and the habits of our heart, church events simply become places that individuals focus on themselves in the presence of others. It takes deep reflection and costly commitment to live in community!” We believe, without doubt, that God has called us to Lowry and intends to redeem the definition of community there, but it’s gonna require deep reflection and costly commitment from us, and our neighbors whom God prompts to join us. Will you join us in praying that God will be glorified and honored and raise up His church in Lowry, as a result of community building?
We are praying and hearing from God that now is the time to begin a small group weekly Bible study and shared meal in our home. Our relationships are deepening with several neighbors and we are praying God will prompt several to come and hear His Word and be free to ask questions and have meaningful time with believers! Pray for lives to be saved and forever changed and for community redemption to begin and continue!
Partners in the Gospel fill my heart with joy! No words can describe what a blessing it is to have prayer partners in many states lifting us up before The Lord daily, and at least one person praying for every single street in Lowry! Wow! It leaves me speechless (which we all know is rare, HA). What’s cool is how reciprocal it is, too. Many of our prayer partners share personal prayer needs and praises with us as well! What a privilege to intercede on their behalf. I often take that for granted, but God is deepening my intimacy with Him through prayer!
Another huge blessing for us is having several church partnerships, not only financially, but Gospel ministry partnership! We were privileged to have the new youth minister from Fairhaven Baptist Church, where we were privileged to serve 8 years before answering the call to plant, here with us last weekend. We were so encouraged to hear how God continues to move at Fairhaven and in “our” students. Having them choose to support us by sending a mission team this summer is huge! It excites me! Loved hosting Tyler and seeing him see Lowry and feel burdened for the lostness of our neighborhood and all of Denver metro. Statistics are alarming and real, but being here is sobering and heart breaking, yet exciting. Pray for this team of youth, college students, and adults from Fairhaven. Pray God will use them mightily, praise God for how exponentially our time and Gospel influence will be multiplied that week, pray for lives to be changed and disciples to be made.
I am overwhelmed when I read these verses now, though I’ve read them before. I am truly thankful for all of our Gospel partners and praying God continues to bring laborers into His harvest!
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,[d] both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Thank you, partners! Thank you!
“I pray that you may have the power to grasp how wide, and how long, and how high and how deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.” Ephesians 3:18
This is my prayer for our neighbors! We are surrounded by very successful professionals, intelligent upwardly mobile families with high levels of education and much worldly success. This leads to a contentment with life as it is, a feeling of being blessed with many things and no real “need” for God. The love of Christ, which is in us, is what fuels us to live in and love on this neighborhood. We have already been told in different ways that neighbors see something different in us and are drawn to it. We want them to grasp the love of Christ and see that unique love surpass all knowledge and “success”. Pray they will see Him in us, have ears to hear the Gospel and our testimonies, and experience His great love personally!
We are having gospel conversations more regularly now, as we have met and can call many neighbors by name now. We know God is deepening our connection with several specific neighbors and we are praying for salvation for these and for a chance to disciple them and see them grow in Christ!
Faith! Short word, full of big meaning. God has me in a study of faith. He is teaching me about faith all across my life and He isn’t letting up!
Faith – “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see” Heb 11:1
“Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.” Hebrews 11:6
I’ve heard these verses many times, read them, studied them. It’s real now, more real than ever before!
Many of you have called our move to Colorado a “leap of faith”. Maybe it’s true. There was definitely an element of trusting in what we couldn’t yet see, literally. But the testing of faith is more real now than then, than ever! God is asking me if I have faith that He can save my neighbors and bring life change, heal deep wounds, soften hearts, break habits, mend brokenness. Each day, as we engage neighbors in different places in the neighborhood, the lostness is SO evident, the brokenness heart-breaking. It would be so easy to dwell on how huge the need for God is here, or even to dwell on how impossible it seems that this place we call home will be redeemed. But God is strengthening my faith! He is helping me believe, with certainty, in what I cannot see or even imagine! He is calling me out into deep water and I’m committed to keeping my eyes above the waves and focused on Him, that I may walk behind Him and rest in His promise that one day, EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess that He is Lord! Oh, to envision and believe all of Lowry on their knees confessing Him as Lord together! Now unseen, very dim at the least…one day soon, TRUE!
1 Peter 1:9 says “the outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls” and we know “it is by grace, through faith, we are saved”. Faith is contagious and I’m praying for an epidemic, in Lowry and beyond. The salvation of souls is the goal and I am confidently believing it is His will!
My favorite song right now…can’t hear it too many times! Take the next 10 minutes to watch the video and soak it in. Let’s rest in His embrace together, expecting big things!!