Today I got off to a late start and as a result felt rushed the entire evening. We decided to try for the fourth time a different layout for the event. I believe we this is the best one, so I think we will use it going forward.
After set-up, as was the case last week, people immediately started requesting and receiving prayer both in the prayer tent and in and around the worship tent. Typically we jump right in getting the food out, however tonight I decided to pull everyone together for an overview of the evening activities. The instruction included a breakdown of the three primary groups of service needs. Serving, Praise & Worship and Prayer teams were developed and each group was given instruction as to what to do. We prayed over each group and released them. This worked well and we will continue to do this going forward. We will now start serving food at 6:15 pm as a rule. Tonight there was a long line of people (as many as we have ever had) as many as 125 people at one time. As the food servers prepared the meal and the line was forming Pete was prompted to take the mic and start praying. He prayed and gave testimony of his journey and faith walk which includes his experience losing his daughter Allison in a tragic automobile accident. He concluded with prayer and then I took over and gave the volunteers instruction. From this point on, it seemed as though everyone knew what role they played.
The food serving team is led by Terry Reagles and a veteran core of volunteers. This works well as everyone knows their role and they quickly teach the new comers the ropes.
The clothing serving team is led by Brenda Duncan and they set up the table to hand out clothing and within minutes there was a mob of people hovering around the table. This was overwhelming. A problem we see is that there are people who are more aggressive than most overcome with greed, attempting to take hordes of clothing – stuff they won’t wear but more than likely will try to sell. As a result, we are going to form a policy that starts with a line and includes a three piece maximum offering per person. I saw this and asked Pete to go over to bring order.
The prayer team is led by Pete Couper. They were given instruction to team up in pairs of two or three and walk around the entire serving area praying for the anointing of God and His army of Angels to fight against the principalities and powers of darkness in the heavenly. The prayer team circled the area. This was awesome to observe! Prayer warriors laying down a wall of anointing, breaking off to pray for those they were prompted to as war raged in the heavenly places all around us bringing an atmosphere of love. Tears flowed as people were being released from the captivity that they have become so use too. During this time we led many to the prayer tent where the prayer team strategically prayed for them.
As the food and clothing was being served by our ervice volunteer’s people started to sit under the worship tent. i can’t describe to you the feeling that overcame me. It was warm! It was as if God was affirming me. I can only speak for myself, but as the founder of a ministry I feel anxiety as I wonder if people will come.
We are so blessed to have so many churches participating each week. We have people from Hosanna! in Lakeville (my home church), Cedar Valley in Bloomington, South Metro Vineyard in Apple Valley, Crossroads in Savage, The Crux that travel up from Faribault as well as others I am sure.
At some point I grabbed the clip board and started my quest to sign people in to record the attendance of volunteers to track their hours keeping my eye on the time. This gives me a chance to meet the new volunteers and greet the returning ones. The problem with having to do this is that keeps me from connecting with people in the community that I have made connections with. I am praying for a solution to this problem.
Our plan was to start the service at 7:00 pm. I heard thunder and lightning and began to pray that God would divert the impending storm. Tonight, Stephanie Staszcuk, a youth leader worship director from Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington was going to lead worship and give the message. At 6:58 pm the storm hit and the rain poured out of the heavens. People scurried for cover under our tent. Steph had a captured audience and a full house! We have been talking a lot lately about John 6:26. This is the story of the 5,000 (fed the previous day) that followed Him around the lake to receive another meal. Jesus rebuked them because their motive for being there had nothing to do with the miraculous signs He was performing rather to get food to eat. We have realized that the people in the community we are serving are not starving for food. Their needs are met with food daily although some more than others and of course we provide a buffet of sorts. The food we provide draws them together, but their souls are starving for spiritual nourishment. Most don’t realize that, but that is what we see and that is what Jesus was saying. We must walk in power and authority with boldness just as Jesus did so as not to enable but deliver. As hard as it is, I feel that we must at times risk our relationships as Jesus did and boldly proclaim the truth so God can set them free. Of course we must walk in obedience to the Spirit and follow His prompting for if we don’t we risk walking in rebellion as well as risk becoming enablers ourselves.
Tonight God showed me that even when the Kingdom of Heaven is near we can be so easily distracted by the storms around us. The distractions that the storm brought were revelation! Praise God! We never know what God is up to and how what we are doing is impacting the lives around us.
Steph did an amazing job through it all. She delivered a message a message of hope in what seemed like a hopeless situation. After she was done Greg (community member) shared his amazing testimony and the prayer continued under the tent. I was led and introduced to Christy and Larry and then listened to Christy’s testimony and asked if she would be willing to give it next Tuesday. She agreed. I am sure there are many other stories from the night. I don’t always get to hear them because I am not always supposed to. God paints a portrait for each person that serves downtown every Tuesday that is intended only for them. That portrait is designed to hang on the wall of the heart of the individual that in most cases only they will ever see.
What is happening downtown is miraculous in that the Spirit of the living God is drawing people in from all over. They can’t help but come back because it is so powerful. I pray that they know how much I appreciate their presence, but it is not for me that they come. It is because they are the chosen ones drawn in by the Spirit of God. I pray for more! More people who can come and experience what Heaven on earth is like.
The rest of the night was spent packing up in a down pour with a handful of faithful brothers and sisters. Was it uncomfortable? Maybe (although I can only speak for myself), but it showed me that I am blessed. I get to go home! That is the mission of this ministry – “Leading the Lost Home”. Please know that if you are reading this, you are a part of this mission. You are invited to join us each and every Tuesday.