Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Wednesday evening, the SAY Yes! Center, called THE LIFT, in St. Paul gathers about 20 children from the neighborhood school. My group includes five sixth grade girls, each with obvious preteen frailty.
Three of the girls have been faithful SAY Yes! attendees for three years. The other girls were welcomed late last spring. God has been helping our group work through molding these two sets of girls together.
All of the students and mentors gather at the very beginning to pray over the evening and address any announcements there may be. We split into our small groups following. At six we have a family dinner with everyone again. And close with a game and ending small group time.
Last Wednesday, November 11th, our group was talking about how we can know that Christ is in our life. Two girls, Luz and Mariah, were a little uncertain. Luz felt she was about 50% certain she was a Christian, Mariah was 25%. They both stated they were 50% sure they would go to heaven when they died.
God lead our conversation to the truth that when you receive Christ, he comes into your life, you become a new creation, all of your sins our forgiven, you now have a intimate relationship with God, and God will never leave you.
Mariah’s eyebrows furrowed, she asked, “I’m confused, how do I first get Christ in my life?” Luz shot her hand up, “Yeah, me too!” she echoed. Praise the Lord! What beautiful, curious hearts he had softened.
I asked if they believed that God created them and has a plan for their life, if they believed that they were sinful and this separated them from God, if they believed Christ bridged that separation for them by dying their penalty, and if they wanted to have a relationship with God? Luz and Mariah nodded fervently. Mariah interrupted, “But how do I get Him in my heart?”
“We can pray and ask God to come into our hearts, and believe that He will,” I answered.
“Let’s do it!” Luz responded.
They repeated the words from the prayer found in The Knowing God Personally Book. We ended the evening talking about how they can be 100% sure that they are Christians and 100% sure that they are going to heaven when they die.
Last night, a week from when Luz and Mariah prayed, we had the chance to go out for cappuccinos. We talked about the decision they made the week before and about how things are going. Luz was really excited, talking about how she had never done that before and that she felt she “could tell God anything.” Mariah is a very sincere and deep thinker. She processes deeply. She was talking with eternal perspective. She commented that she is “no longer a skull.” (We used a skull and Bible to demonstrate the Great Exchange that happens when Jesus takes our place.)
Praise the Lord! The dead come to life because our Redeemer lives and works mightily in our age to reconcile all of creation back to Himself.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Skittles girls (fruity balls of sugar)

Camp Patmos

Just recently I asked my city director, John Sather, a question I am in the process of wrestling with, “How can I, a middleclasswhitegirl, make any impact in the inner city when I so obviously come from a different background with a well-full of different experiences? And with that, know that there may be a better representative?”

He shared this quote.

To preach the gospel of the unconditional grace of God in the unconditional way is to set before people the astonishingly good news of what God freely provided for us in the vicarious humanity of Jesus. To repent and believe in Jesus Christ and commit myself to him on that basis means that I don not need to look over my shoulder all the time to see whether I have really given myself personally to him, whether I really believe and trust him, whether my faith is at all adequate, for in faith it is not upon my faith, my believing or my personal commitment that I rely, but solely upon what Jesus Christ has done for me, in my place and on my behalf, and what he is and always will be as he stands in for me before the face of the Father. That means that I am completely liberated form all ulterior motives in believing or following Jesus Christ, for on the ground of his vicarious human response for me, I am free for spontaneous joyful response and worship and service as I could not otherwise be. – TF Torrance.
This is a freedom quote, I feel. We are free from the responsibility to always appear perfect and of actually being perfect. I know that, out of my own strife, I will be inadequate for the task of ministering the gospel. But I rest in that inadequacy. I rest in Jesus Christ. I’m free in Jesus Christ. I must speak these truths to my soul, daily. But I can be confident in my inadequacy when I’m surrounded by people that I feel I can’t possibly relate or serve well. Though I can’t relate, I know the one who does and He lives in me.
These are some pictures taken from a youth group retreat with my church. We took 70+ youth up north for the weekend to Camp Patmos. The theme was “What is TRUTH?” Praise God for connections with students, deep conversations surrounding Truth, and a weekend without CELL PHONES!

We know that Our Lord Jesus hasn’t returned yet because another soul can be won for his kingdom. One more soul was won over this weekend. A 6th grade girl, Natasha, who was invited by a friend to camp that weekend, prayed to receive Christ. Pray for Natasha.