Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow What Fun

Last weekend I traveled to Crescent Lake resort to marry a couple whom Lori and I love deeply. last March I baptized Brandon. Brandon and I referee wrestling for years and he has been with Agape from day 1. That Sunday Brandon baptized Whitney. They work with our youth group now and are a great blessing to us at Agape. Brandon and I rode out on snowmobiles with a group of guys to the wedding. It was cold but beautiful.

As the snow fell this week we had two Sunday services cancelled. It was a good time to stay home and research and work on some manuscripts due to be published next year. As I sat by the fireplace, drank coffee, and looked at the snowflakes I realized I wasn't panicing.

Why would I panic? Last year we scrambled to help the Dignity Village residents stay warm, get a warm place for the people we knew on the streets downtown, and get food or warm clothing for some of our Agape guests.

This year we were prepared. In August all Dignity Village tent homes were converted to permanent walled structures. Dave and Karissa Sears led a team to provide Thanksgiving dinner for the residents and filled up their propane tanks. Our homeless guests have homes/apartments to live in. They have jobs. Our supporting church has blessed us with monthly benevolence money so that people we work with have food. Some of our Agape folks who have relapsed are in a safe supportive community. A couple of our ministry couples are being blessed by new supporters for their salaries.

My ministry used to feed on last minute rush and adrenaline. I find that it is so much nicer to have people say--"We're OK, we've got what we need. We're worried about others who are where we used to be..." In some way I felt those moments of anxiety accompanied by slight guilt as I thought, "I should be worried about something but I'm not. "Maybe I felt guilty about not being worried. Maybe I was having adrenaline withdrawl. Maybe this is what ministry is supposed to be.

A ministry that works in the season of harvest is able to rest during the Sabbath.

So I drank my coffee and read about ancient Corinth. I got excited working on the book "The Church of Agape: Paul's Letter to an Emerging Culture," and thinking about the winter sermon series on 1 Corinthians. I also got worked up praying about the winter and getting back into the battle with Satan for people's hearts and lives in Portland. I also thought about the next 2 weddings and how we are having more marriages and babies at Agape. God is once again preparing us for an explosion and growth.

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