Sunday, June 24, 2012

God Is Up To Something!

I'm Amazed By His Grace

Dove Man before Christ ... usually at the center of things!
Someone has to go first. Pioneers and people who love adventure often find they are the ones.  However, in this case I tend to believe going first was not the result of being wired for adventure or pioneering.  I think this time it was the work of God's Spirit.

He is a born leader and has been the Sargent at arms, bouncer, enforcer, and all round top bad guy for the tough bad boyz of the Island.  Many shake their heads and express their disbelief, but Dove Man was the first to yield his life to Christ.  Just over a month ago, we were in a men's fellowship at Jeff's house with about 20 men.  Oliver Black, an African American from Mississippi, was sharing what it means to be a real man.  At the conclusion of our morning together I came out of the bathroom to find this tall, raspy voiced rapper telling all the men that he wanted to give his life to Christ.  No one gave an invitation. No one inquired.  Dove Man is simply one of those guys who takes initiative.  Since that day he has proven he is the real deal.  He was with me at a prison last Sunday afternoon.  After I preached to the residents, he stepped forward seamlessly and told the men that this was not a joke. Someone giving their life to Christ is a serious business.  It is not a religious act or ritual.  It is coming to the end of yourself to follow Christ with all that you are and all that you have ... even your future.  How about it?  Would you like to surrender your life to Jesus?  Twenty of the men stood and gave their life to Christ.

Philip before Christ
Philip is another leader among the Island Boyz.  He was in prison for three weeks.  A political abuse of power resulted in six or seven of the Island Boyz being held on various trumped up charges.  Philip had three. There was an appeal for the American to pay money to get them out of jail.  But, I told them "even though you are innocent this time, your reputation has made it easy for you to be here in prison.  And, money will not change your heart.  What you need is a change of heart. Only Jesus can do that for you."  Philip requested that I ask God to change his heart. We did and Jesus Christ found this lost son in prison! Before Philip came out he was telling me he had found a scripture that told him not to hate his enemies, but to love them.  And that he was now seeing how the orphan spirit works in his culture.  Just this morning, Philip's wife stood before the congregation and told everyone that she wanted to also give her life to Christ.  Dove Man's wife gave her life to Christ about two weeks ago because of the radical change she has witnessed in his life.
Moses, Philip, me, Dove Man, & Hussein
On one of my early visits to the Island to love these men

Last Sunday one of the Island Boyz named Hussein, publicly confessed Christ and immediately wanted to change his name.  Pam gave him the name of David and he has been happy with it the last seven days.  David was also one of those boyz who was in prison with Philip.

Yesterday Pam drove by the Island with Peter, Connie, and Robyn and found Dove Man preaching  to many of his friends who have known him now before and after Christ.  Today more of those men came with Philip to the church service and two of them, Dennis and Moses, confessed Christ as Lord!

This means that we have seen six men give their lives to Christ since we started visiting them on the triangular piece of grass bordered by pavement.  They are begging me to come and have church with all the Island Boyz on a Sunday.  I hope to do that.

Kato, Dove Man, Pam, David, Dennis, Moses, Henry, Philip
June 24, 2012
It's hard to express the awe I feel as I serve the Lord as a midwife.  It's a delight to catch the spiritual babies that are being born.  Dennis told Pam and me, "Next week I'm bringing my wife!" After we took photos this morning Moses turned to me with a huge smile on his face and said proudly, "I'm a born again!"  Something amazing is happening to this group of "bad boyz" and I'm confident it is the grace of God.  I told them today that this is just the beginning. Now we are following Christ.  Jesus did not call us to a religion or to become church people or to modify our behavior.  Jesus called us to follow Him ... wherever, whatever, and whenever.
And Jesus said to all, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  (Luke 9:23)




August 18, 2012
4 PM
29940 South Dhooghe Road
Colton, Oregon 97017

Everyone is welcome.  Pam and I provide all the food and beverages.  Just come and enjoy.  Bring anyone you would like to introduce to the work we do in Africa.  It's our way of saying thank you for being a significant part of what we do and inviting others to join us.  If you are traveling from some distance, let us know and we will make accommodation arrangements for you.

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