Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dining Table Conversation

One night I was transported to heaven. I was escorted by an angel named Priscilla. She told me the Father had decided to give me a special gift. I was escorted by Priscilla to a seat looking over a dining table.

Priscilla said, “Beloved it has been granted you to hear a conversation of the Blessed Trinity recorded before time; after time and in the eternal now. Listen and behold Beloved.”

I saw a warm room with pictures of millions of people on the walls. They were ever-changing like a digital photo frame. Then one picture stopped and began flashing. To my astonishment it was me.

The dining table of beautiful cherry wood stood in the foreground. Then the door to the room became Jesus and He walked to the table. Next in an instant the Holy Spirit appeared shimmering and blue changing shapes both feminine and masculine. Next out of the hearts of the Son and the Spirit came the Father. I was enveloped in the electricity of their love for one another.

A fountain of Living Water gushed up from the middle of the table and small beautiful flowers brilliant in color began sprouting. The Blessed Trinity created their own food and ate. I saw the Father’s dish of inexpressible creativity and love. Jesus began to eat a dish of the will of the Father. And the Holy Spirit ate a dish of glorification, fire, and wind. As they ate I listened in on the sacred conversation.

Father: We have a tragedy and the need for a rescue operation. The man and woman We formed were seduced by Lucifer. They have fallen and they will continue to fall over deeper. They are cut off.

Spirit: Yes, I feel their agony. (tears)

Father: I have a plan. It will come at an unthinkable price.

Jesus: Whatever it is Father, let me do it.

Father: Sin has a consequence and a punishment that is unspeakable. Death. They are now in death and will remain eternally dead and lost. I have provided them with the sacrifice of a lamb but it is a band aid.

Jesus: Father, if the Holy Spirit will clothe me in flesh I will become the Lamb of sacrifice. The perfect sacrifice.

Spirit: Yes, I will be that power. His source.

Father: My beloved son in whom I take great delight. You honor and bless me. My heart breaks at sending you and sacrificing you. You are my only beloved son.

Jesus: Father, I delight to do your will.

Spirit: I have searched the earth and I have found a young woman from Nazareth called Miriam. Her heart belongs to us. She is pure. She is like you Jesus. She longs to do our will. You will have family likeness to her.

Father: Then she shall be called. You will go to her Holy Spirit when the time is right.

Spirit: Yes, I will overshadow her and breathe Jesus into her womb.

Jesus: Let it be done Father and Spirit according to our word. I am the will of God - fulfiller.

Father: Spirit we shall guide Jesus to learn of his mission in his early years because he will know but he will not know.

Holy Spirit: Miriam will treasure the child and teach him our ways.

Father: In later years, in the fullness of time my beloved son, will come the time of sacrifice and spilling of your blood.

Jesus: Yes, Father, I will go for the joy set before us of adoption into our circle of love. We again will have a people. A family. I will be elder brother to millions of little sisters and brothers. I delight to do your will.

At that moment a cross arose in the fountain of Living Water turned to blood and they each held cups up to drink.

Jesus: With my blood our hearts will be pierced with sorrow that will turn to unspeakable joy.

Spirit: After sacrifice, beloved Jesus, I will raise you up by the Father’s will. All will see our glory that is greater than death. The city of God will descend from heaven.

Jesus: Though my heel be bruised I will crush Satan and destroy the works of the devil.

Then they took each other’s hand and merged into the Great I Am as one. I looked up and there was my picture flashing again but there was blood on the frame. A title flashed – I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. On the top frame it said purchased by the blood of the Lamb. My heart exploded with joy and then Priscilla touched my shoulder.

I looked into her eyes aglow with the love of the Blessed Trinity. It is time to leave, you are to go back and proclaim this glorious plan of the Blessed Trinity. You are to proclaim Jesus! Your reward in heaven will be great.

The next moment I was with my friend Big D in our club. We were talking about Jesus.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Christian Withness

In 1977 Bob Mitchell came to our region. During his visit we had the privilege of being taught the basics of Young Life. One of the things he said, that really stayed with me was, “what we are about in Young Life is not so much Christian witness as much as Christian withness.”

Then in 1995, while on an YL Capernaum Ministry study trip in Germany, I met a wonderful woman named Rosal Stiefel, who had been engaged in serving people with disabilities for 35 years. She talked to us about camping. She said, “We do not do camp to young people with disabilities. Instead we do camp with young people with disabilities.” She expounded on this idea saying, “Ministry with young people with disabilities is an experience of encountering Christ in each other.”

These two statements from two wonderful followers of Jesus, along with the majestic striking words of Jesus in Matthew 25, deeply influenced the early development of YL Capernaum Ministry.

Embedded in these words is: a theology of mutuality, a theology of reciprocity and a theology of incarnational encounters in one another. Those are not mere words or concepts. They are crucial to orientation and way of doing ministry along with our results.

The friends we engage with tend to be seen as tragedies to be pitied. They tend to be seen solely through the prism of ability; as those only who need to be offered help. When we engage our friends in this “ministry to” manner we truly disable our friends. We do not recognize the image of God in them with their corresponding spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities. They are stifled and unable to grow.

This is why we hold to our core value of “ministry with kids who happen to have disabilities.” This is a condescending approach in the best sense of the word which means “come down to be with”. When we take to our knee to be eye level we are condescending, recognizing our friend has something to offer us as do we for them.

We come recognizing we will encounter Jesus in our friends who were born this way to show the glory of God as Jesus stated in John 9:3. This orientation allows us to receive as well as give but it also allows our friends to give as well as receive.
The result is empowerment and an ever-expanding sense of who they are in Christ and what they can do. We become a holy beloved community in Jesus. We begin to experience Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female (and I will add – neither disabled nor able-bodied) for you (we) are all one in Christ Jesus.

About three years ago I was suffering and I mean truly suffering with undiagnosed sleep apnea. Every day was overwhelming as it gets to function. One day I was getting ready for club and pouring my heart out to the world. God I can’t go on. How am I going to do club? I found myself begging God to take me home. I had sleep apnea for 5 years at that point.

So, I went to club. At the end of club I was feeding one of my friends named Stashu who needs total care. I was lost in my exhaustion. As I lifted a cookie to his mouth I stopped in wonder. I saw the most beautiful sparkle in Stashu’s eyes with a slight smile.

I could hear Stashu silently talking in the voice of Jesus, “Nick I understand daily wearing of a body that won’t function well. I understand what it is like to feel no one understands. I understand what it takes to get through each day. But I also understand the life I have is a gift to be lived in mystery, even joy, rather than a problem to be solved.”

I placed the cookie in Stashu’s mouth and smiled back at him and said, “Thanks Stashu.” Christ in him had given me hope and faith to go in spite of how badly I felt physically.

This is “withness.” This is ministry with kids. This is how we do Capernaum and God is glorified.

Praying for you as you are receiving and offering Christ with kids,