Set Up

January 15, 2011

I have heard so many people at Bethel talk about ministry being “easy”.  I finally understand and have been experiencing what they are talking about.  Ministry just happens when you are being yourself and living in tune with Holy Spirit.

All of this started when I gave a couple guys a ride home from a party last week.  I give people rides frequently because I enjoy having a few quiet minutes in the car to chat and get to know people.   Also, you really can’t go far out of your way in Redding, so it’s not much of an inconvenience and people appreciate it too.  So when these guys asked for a ride,  of course I didn’t mind.  They live in one of the more “colorful” neighborhoods in Redding (and by “colorful” I mean one of the Redding Hoods).  A bunch of students live in the neighborhood and have a house church going, and there is also a student outreach team that goes every week to build relationships with the people who live there.  As we pulled into the neighborhood, one of the guys commented how the atmosphere in the neighborhood had felt really good for a while, but that there’d been a shift recently and it felt a bit funky.  Not even feeling anointed or the prompting of Holy Spirit I opened my mouth and started saying, “Yeah, I feel like someone moved in recently, even in the last month, who for some reason has authority in this neighborhood and brought some spiritual junk with him.”  The guy I was talking to agreed and at that point I saw a picture in my head of a smaller guy with a red goatee and a little girl.  I didn’t say anything because I see pictures in my imagination all the time, and usually I’m not sure if it’s my head or God talking to me.  That was Saturday.

Fast forward to Thursday at 7am.  My alarm clock went off and I grabbed my phone.  I usually abstain from checking my email until I’ve gotten up, eaten breakfast and spent time with God.  But to allow myself a few more minutes of lying in bed, I clicked through my email on my phone.  One was from my co-intern Karina who was reminding me that we have to have a promotional video to recruit students for the house churches done in ten days and we needed to shoot footage that afternoon.  I groaned and rolled out of bed realizing that my day just got crazy.  I met with Karina and our friend Julie, who normally does our filming. Julie had to work that afternoon and Karina had to train some new students for their outreach.  That left me to do the filming.  I assumed I was going to go to Karina’s neighborhood to shoot, but she asked me to go to Clay Street because they have the most students. The same neighborhood I had been to on Saturday.

So I met up with the Clay Street group and got some footage of them.  Then I pretty much put the camera away and jumped into ministering with them.  We went door to door to people they knew to check on them and pray for them.  I loved it.  At some point we changed up groups and I ended up with Ben, the guy I had given a ride to, and another girl.  We were walking back to meet the whole group when Ben saw some hard looking guys down a side street and wanted to go say, “Hi”.  We walked up to introduce ourselves.  The man farthest from me turned around and he had a red goatee.  I recognized him from the vision I saw on Saturday night.  I introduced myself and started chatting.  He said he had moved into the neighborhood less than a month ago.  He also mentioned that he had lived in the neighborhood five years ago.  While we were talking a little girl came out and was yelling at him to get his attention.  Even though she kept insisting, he seemed to really want to keep talking to us.  As I talked to him I kept asking God for a prophetic word for him, but all I heard God say to me was, “What is true about him?”  As I said goodbye I told him that Jesus loves him and has great plans for his life and for his family.  I hadn’t told anyone about the vision of this guy I was talking to, but as we walked off Ben said, “That’s him!  That’s the guy!” I said, “I know!  I had a vision of him on Saturday while we were talking!”

I kind of laughed at God afterwards.  Like I couldn’t have set any of that up, it was so Him.  I wouldn’t have been in that neighborhood either time, but I just volunteered to give a couple guys a ride home and shoot some video.  I showed up and God spoke to and through me.  It’s really a testimony in progress.  I’m curious to see what happens to this guy we met.  There’s obviously a reason that God showed me a vision of him and then set me up to actually meet him.  Ben invited me to attend the house church that night, but I already had plans with a friend.  Maybe next week.

Then again today I decided to go for a walk at the Sundial Bridge (pictured above).  I rarely go there anymore because there’s a nice ranch near my house with walking trails.  But I happened to have met a lady downtown and was on my way home.  On my way back to my car I ran into some Bethel friends.  They said, “Hey, come join us.  We just met these ladies and we’re praying for them.”  So the end of my walk turned into a crazy, fun time with a bunch of Bethel students ministering to and loving people at Sundial.  I just stopped to go for a walk.

I am quite liking this “ministry is easy” thing.  I’m not even trying to get in these situations, they just happen.  God keeps setting me up and I like it.

I could tell some more stories, but I think I’ve rambled on long enough.  Let’s just say that the same sorts of things happened last night at bar ministry.  It’s like Woody Allen says, “80% of success is just showing up.”




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