God continues to bring broken people into our lives as we make ourselves available to him. There are many needs around us, but our goal is to stay focused on the few people that God draws to us and to work where Jesus is working. If we can raise up a handful of leaders who will break the generational curses in their families, raise their children in the knowledge of Jesus, and multiply their faith, we will have spent our time wisely. The reality of our church and ministry (and personally following Jesus) is that it is more typically a daily grind of obedience and openness to the Holy Spirit than it is an emotional mountain top of worship and baptisms. It’s like family life, not everything is birthday parties and thanksgiving, a lot of it is doing what needs to be done: cleaning the bathroom, feeding the dog, and doing laundry, together. We long to see salvation’s and baptisms, but our peace comes from the eternal value in our daily opportunities to hang out, speak truth, listen to heartache, and pray. We continue coming back to the idea of doing what we know to do: opening up our home, being consistent in our relationships, making space for people to respond to what Jesus is doing in and around them, making disciples one conversation at a time. There is a lot of freedom in this and we have to fight to keep things simple and not overthink. We deal with a lot of addiction, poverty, evictions, arrests, and demonic oppression. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to save everyone and put out fires instead of being faithful to raising up leaders who can change whole generations. We look for opportunities to do good to whoever, wherever, whenever, but we want to keep relationships as our primary focus. We’re sticking to Jesus’ mission, and his method.
We have been trying to face the reality of sin head on and that has led to some tough but good conversations. One thing we are learning is that confessed sin leads to revival. This past week in our simple church we used four questions to check the pulse of our faith and our relationship with God.
1. How’s your relationship with God? What’s one word to describe it this week?
2. What are you doing to allow the Holy Spirit to make you more like Jesus?
3. What opportunities have you had to serve God and be a witness this week?
4. What temptations have you faced and how have you overcome them?
These questions led to some great sharing and new intimacy with Jesus and with each other. Our hope is to continue creating a culture of vulnerability and accountability in our church, just like with our own children. We don’t have specific expectations for what we want our people to be or do, we just want to walk with them and see them becoming more like Jesus in every area of their lives.
I was encouraged and reminded of our calling this week as I stood out in my front yard talking with a young man for two hours on Sunday night after our church gathering. He has been a follower of Jesus for over a year and has a lot of leadership potential. As he talked about his past struggles with temptation, isolation, shame, and suicidal thoughts, he said “I’m just broken man, I really am.”
I looked at him and said, “I know, that’s why you’re with us.”
Then I shared with him that God had specifically called us to make space in our lives. To open our home and our lives to people who are broken, hurting, unchurched, and at risk of never knowing Jesus or his family.
He said, “I know man, I’m so thankful for you because you have no idea what this means to me, being able to come here every week. It gets me through the darkness that I live in and it has really started to transform my life. I want to let you all in more than just on Sunday’s for a few hours, you’re like my family. I’ve been praying for this exact thing and people for over a year and I had no idea it existed right down the street from me. I know this sounds crazy, but I think I could lead something like this eventually.”
His words really encouraged me. Make space in your life. God is so big, so in control, so loving, so available…he’ll use you if you let him.
If you have prayed for us or given financially or encouraged us in any way, you are changing lives and breaking generational curses by helping us to be available to hurting, broken people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To See more great pictures, read a testimony from a new believer they work with, see prayer requests, celebrations, and learn how you can contact and support the Phillips family click HERE.