My Confession: From Trial to Trophy
First 600 miles DONE! . . . 1100 more to go!
New Commandment Thursday, better known as Maundy Thursday, is my favorite day of Holy Week. In Latin, the phrase "new commandment" is translated, mandatum novum. "Maundy" is derived from this Latin word, mandatum, meaning "commandment," or, literally, "mandate."
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)
I thank God for giving me a profound love for His Bride. Second only to His gift of eternal life, nothing has changed my life more.
Allow me to explain...
Back in 2001 on our first cross-country prayerwalk, though we connected with many wonderful pastors who remain dear friends to this day, we also encountered our share of insecure leaders. To them, our efforts to help were summarily viewed as a threat. The more enamored they were with their own "brand name," the less we were welcome.
This grieved me to no end. So, of course, I'd gripe about it.
At least I had the sense to gripe to God. In my unrighteous indignation, I would storm ahead of the rest of our prayerwalking team to get just enough highway between them and me to pitch a fit.
Once alone with the Judge of the Universe in my "prayer closet," I'd let it rip, enumerating indictments on my fingertips in an animated display of offense and fury that would make any tattletale proud...
"This guy is this and that and this and that and..."
"Yes, son," God would answer, "You're absolutely right. So what would you like me to do about it?"
(Silence on my end. This was no time for backtalk.)
"Let me help you, son. Let me tell you what I did for that man. I died for him. What would you like to do?"
These exchanges sure let all the air out of being ticked off.
But by God's mercy, after a number of these dialogues, His conviction finally got through my thick skull and my broken heart:
I was offended with His Church! (This was news to me.) Lost people didn't bother me; they didn't know any better. But church people? I only loved the ones I thought were as "holy" as me. What's worse, I didn't love God the way I'd always thought I did. I was a liar! (1 John 4:20)
In the deepest, gut-wrenching throes of godly sorrow, I repented. And God met me right there. After patiently wooing me to embrace His marvelous gift of repentance, God gave me a do-over.
Suddenly, I was refreshed. I was smitten. Still am. I admit it. I love the Church; I LOVE her! She is anything but the spotless Bride she is destined to become...no more worthy of being loved than I am...but by the Spirit of Christ in me, I am utterly head over heels.
Hope you are too.
At the end of that first prayerwalk I received this bronze, of Jesus washing Peter's feet, from a man who would become one of my dearest friends, Pastor John Tolle. John helped launch us the very first day of our mission. He didn't even know me then; it was a faith thing. He's since joined me on the prayerwalking trail, but much more than that, he and his wife, Rosemary, have joined Deanna and me in covenant friendship.
I never asked John what motivated his selection of this gift. It's been the centerpiece of my office bookshelf ever since he gave it to me. Maybe he saw a change in me over those first 3,400 miles; maybe it was another faith thing, because he believed change was coming. But I can assure you, no memento has ever been more of a trophy to my heart.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
As we continue to "wash the feet" of the Body of Christ from coast to coast, especially fellow leaders, will you help?
God continues to give us much favor, but the Gulf Coast is mostly unknown territory to me, so our need to approach this as an outreach, rather than expecting to be funded en route, is pressing and paramount. We sensed this going in; I even shot a brief video about it. But it's been much tougher than anticipated.
We need an immediate breakthrough in support before the next leg of this journey. Thanks for praying this through with us.
Lord, we desperately need a do-over. According to Your merciful will, use this mission to woo our nation to repentance-in-unity! We have a long way to go to become a people known by "our love for one another." But You will never leave us or forsake us! Come Lord Jesus!
Election Season doesn't "officially" begin for another 17 months, and folks are already going nuts. But no matter who we elect, unless we repent as His people, our nation will not be healed.
And our healing is not even the issue; His glory is.
If you believe this mission is part of God's plan to awaken the Church in these perilous times and call her to repentance-in-unity, then please PRAY with us. And please...go to our support page to explore how God might be calling you to come alongside us for some much-needed help.
Lastly, as one change-agent to another, let me state clearly... God didn't call us (all) to this mission because of our worthiness, but because of His workmanship in us (all) to accomplish His will. (Ephesians 2:10)
Joyously celebrate His Resurrection, beloved. Celebrate it every day!
With much love and gratitude,
(In case you missed my subtle hint at the top)
Please don't forget to visit our brand new support page...to agree with us for breakthrough in our ongoing support-base!
Since I relayed to you my conversations with God, please note that I see (and hear) in a mirror dimly, same as you (1 Corinthians 13:12). I'm certainly not portraying some perfected conversational relationship with Him. I am, however, testifying to the best of my ability...calling it the way I saw (and heard) it (John 10:3-4).
I'd love to hear your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org