Always on Mission
This past month I (Stuart) traveled back to Chicago for a couple days to help lead Chicago Prayer Network’s summer quarterly meeting. Since we are a one-car family, we decided to leave our van with Stephanie and John so they could have some wheels while I was gone. I made my way to Chicago on the Megabus for the first time. What an interesting experience! I thought it would be a good idea to travel through the night, so that I could sleep on the bus and maximize my time during the day. I made my plans, but the Lord determined my steps. I was unable to sleep on the bus because the seats were very tight and did not recline more than a typical coach airline seat. Also, our bus stopped in St. Louis to pick up additional passengers at 2am. Sure enough, the empty chair right next to me was filled with a new, very awake, smiling traveling companion. I soon discovered that God purposefully sat me next to a young man who was returning from a metaphysics conference.
His name was Scott, and he was really into spiritual things. Although we believed very different things about Jesus, the Bible, and God’s redemptive plan, I knew that his passion for spiritual understanding could provide an opportunity for me to share the Gospel with him. I began praying for the Lord to open a door in our conversation and I remembered a wise person once tell me, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.” I thought to myself, “I bet this guy has a really interesting story.” It is amazing what God will do when you just ask a person, “Tell me your story, how did you become interested in spiritual things?” Scott did, in fact, have a very interesting story, and I was so glad he shared it with me. As he talked, I found that I really admired his desire to love all people unconditionally and to discover how to walk in peace. After he finished, without any awkwardness or pressure, he turned to me an asked me to share my story. God answered my prayer! I was able to share with him my testimony of Jesus and how I have grown in relationship with my Creator. He listened to me without passing judgement, even though I spoke of the guilt of all people before God, the mercy God shows sinners like me through salvation found in Christ alone, and the future certainty of the Resurrection- those in Christ to eternal life and those not in Christ to eternal punishment.
Our discussion was so passionate that another passenger came back and told us, as politely as possible, to put a cork in it. We were both having such a good time sharing with each other that I didn’t care as much about sleep as I did before we arrived in St. Louis! Before we concluded our conversation that night, Scott gave me permission to pray for him. I prayed that God would direct his spiritual journey and that he would discover true life in Jesus. I really desired to see a visible change in Scott before I left. We parted ways after exchanging contact information, however, and there didn’t seem to be any noticeable shift. Would you please pray with me, that Scott would encounter Jesus in truth? I know that God’s word does not return void and that my appointment with this man was not accidental, but divinely orchestrated for the glory of God. I am so glad that God gave me an opportunity to meet such a kind hearted, interesting, and special person like Scott.
Urgent Call to Prayer 777
Two years ago, Billy Graham, one of the modern fathers of our faith, sounded the alarm and called our nation to a time of repentance and fasting. Sadly, Rev. Graham’s urgent warning fell largely on deaf ears. Our nation has continued in a downward spiral of unrighteousness. It is hard to believe the increase of moral calamities that have come to pass in our nation in just two short years. From the so-called re-definition of marriage, to attacks against religious freedom, to mass murders, to the rampant sexual objectification of women and children, to church scandal, to major Christian denominations denying the final authority of the Holy Bible we have witness in part what the psalmist described in Psalm 2:1-3 “Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,“Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” The cry of popular, governmental, and academic culture has been “We will not submit to, or even recognize, God’s prescribed law!”
During the national day of prayer this year, Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz resounded the alarm and called the Church to a week of prayer and fasting. She asked every believer to pray for our nation for 1 hour for 6 days, and on the 7th day hold a solemn assembly of prayer and fasting for 7 hours. In a unified effort, with many ministries nationwide, IHOPKC responded to Anne Graham’s urgent call to prayer. We spent 7 days repenting for our sins and the sins of our nation and asking God to have mercy by sending a great spiritual awakening. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” God will honor His word and respond in mercy if we respond in humility and repentance.
This month has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. There have been moments of great sadness; there has also been moments of great joy. At the beginning of the month we discovered that our neighbor a few houses down from ours was tragically shot to death by a 13 year old boy. A week ago, one of our previous interns passed away from ongoing health problems. Just a few days ago, we received news that one of Stuart’s high school friends suddenly passed away from a yet undetermined cause. Our hearts grieve with the family and friends over the loss of three very special lives.
Amid these tragic losses we have also celebrated some special family milestones. John is now a full-time walker and is enjoying his newfound freedom of mobility. We have also started introducing him to the Children’s Equipping Center on the missions base so that he can grow in the knowledge of Jesus with some other little friends. Additionally, this month marked the anniversary of our 5th year of marriage! It is becoming abundantly clear how quickly time passes and how necessary it is to soak in every moment, every season, every relationship because life is “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)