My Gnarliest Faith-Walk Yet: Coming Clean & Moving Forward
Merry Christmas, beloved! I hope you and your family are enjoying this most glorious season!
It's been so long since you've heard from me in depth, all I really want to talk about are the million-and-a-half things that have been happening with Deanna and our kids, but...
Since we are, literally, at the brink of what we consider the most daunting assignment of our life, this note needs to be informational, as well as relational. So please, pour yourself a cup of coffee and read on...
It's all personal
We all compartmentalize our lives: professionally, missionally, and personally. Yet in Christ we have but one life, and God is always dealing with the whole person, every facet, in real time. "In Him we live and move and have our being." 1
We don't serve a God of Multiple-Personality Disorder.
"It's not personal, it's just _________."
How many times have I filled in that blank to justify my own selfish interests! I hope to never do so again, because I want my life to be relational, not transactional. And I'm convinced our lives were Sovereignly mapped out for intersections of relationship, first with God, then with each other.
And, by His providence, you just happen to be part of a small army of friends who have personally intersected with us. Like I said, it's all personal.
The last 18 months
In June 2016, I laid out our faith-plans for the rest of that year. Little did I know my own "momentary light afflictions" would get in the way. 2 (If you haven't seen that email, it's worth opening just to read about the Miracle on the Mall.)
- I started having a pronounced increase in symptoms shortly after that announcement in June 2016, affecting the rollout of some upcoming projects.
Charlotte-to-DCThat didn't stop us from embarking on a "suddenly" prayerwalk from Charlotte-to-DC that fall. If you haven't seen the national TV-interview that prompted a nationwide embrace from pastors across the country, you oughta...
- On that 500-mile prayerwalk, I was in a great deal of chronic pain. It became obvious that my increasing symptoms would require attention when I got home. I would later find I was experiencing a significant relapse, requiring new protocols of treatment.
PhiladelphiaJust a couple weeks after returning from that "suddenly," we were called to another one-- this time, to prayerwalk the Bullseye of Battlegrounds, the day before the 2016 Election.
Difficult as it would be to articulate in this public forum, that single day in Philadelphia remains the most amazing intercessory experience of my life, so far.
- In the polarizing, post-inaugural aftershocks of last winter, God downloaded what I understood to be the biggest assignment of my life...to prayerwalk all 435 U. S. Congressional Districts, as a voice for Biblical reconciliation and unity. We originally intended to start in the late spring, but, quite frankly, I was not physically up to it.
At our niece's wedding last fallAs it turned out, we couldn't have started then anyway, as I ended up being "grounded" for much of the summer, allowed to travel only for extended weekends, in order to avail myself to the weekly regimen of a new drug-trial my Neurologist was able to get me into, which has proven very promising.
- Just weeks ago, with Deanna's and our team's full agreement, we felt the "green light" to launch ahead by faith. As soon as we said, "yes," I felt better. Go figure.
The next 11 months
Lord willing, by His grace, here's the what-why-and-how of this 435-District adventure we're about to start... 3
But we can't do it without your help--both now and next year. Please prayerfully respond to "How you can help," below, before closing this email. Thank you.
PLEASE NOTE, this is a special assignment in pivotal times: Having prayerwalked over 23,000 miles across the country to date, calling the American Church to repentance-in-unity, we believe God has directed us to completely change our 2018 plans for the sake of this daunting prayer-assignment at this precise moment in our nation's history. Lord willing, one step at a time...
To PRAY the length-and-breadth of our nation in this tumultuous time, connecting communities in prayerful agreement, that even in the media-fanned fire of the Midterm Elections, our culture of polarization would be overcome by God's spirit of reconciliation. 4
To PARTNER with pastors, coming alongside to prayerwalk their parishes, honoring them as the visible under-shepherds of their communities, while calling them to come together in friendship-based unity as co-leaders of a nationwide proclamation of united prayer. 5
To PROVE, through our oneness, the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When Abraham Lincoln quoted Scripture, saying, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," his speech became a rallying cry for the preservation of our Union. More than 150 years later, we are as divided as ever. Genuine oneness is not a kumbaya event; it is the manifest unity of the Spirit--exactly what our Lord prayed for, and it is purpose-driven. 6
To PAVE the way toward a nationwide proclamation of prayer on Monday, November 5th, the eve of the Midterm Elections,we believe God has called our team to prayerwalk every single Congressional District in boots-on-the-ground obedience, rallying local pastors as we go.
This battleground is spiritual, not political. Yet, in an utterly non-partisan way, we believe God has chosen the acrimonious arena of politics for "such a time as this," to demonstrate His merciful healing in response to the genuine repentance of His people. 7 (See 435-District Schedule)
. . .
Red + Blue = Purple
Not a politically-correct convergence of ecumenical impotencies, but a common trajectory, from varying Christian faith-traditions, toward one transcendent goal of true oneness in Christ, as articulated in the preamble of our Intercessory Appeal to Heaven:
Just as an artist combines reds and blues to create royal hues of purple, we believe when We the People come together under the Master's Hand in genuine unity, we transcend the earthly realm of political party-demarcation and step into the majesty of God's Kingdom. Here, He exhorts us to pray for one another as a "first of all" priority, especially for those He has empowered with governmental authority. And so...
How you can help
For years now, we've followed God's admonition given to the 70, to take no "money belt." Yet, our same all-sufficient God would later counsel His disciples to "take a money belt" (and a sword) when the spiritual battle was about to get gnarly. 9
And so...if you believe revival will only come from united repentance, then I challenge you to take prayerful action...
Blessed are the peacemakers
The moral fabric of America isn't just frayed, it's threadbare. In these "perilous times," I'm not gonna pay attention to all the polarizing chatter espousing a counterfeit "unity" based on common offense or false outrage. Instead, I'm gonna be a peacemaker. How about you? 10
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. --Jesus
In this blessed season of PEACE, we could sure use some peacemakers. Unworthy as we are to issue this call, would you join us? Together, we will experience the mercy of the Father.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! You are greatly loved and appreciated!