Monday, June 23, 2008

Mission Trip

Kelly attended and served the Street Church for nearly a year. She called me last night with some news. She is going out of country for two months to serve as an ICU nurse on a Mercy Ship in Africa.

This is really exciting. I know she'll bless a lot of people on this trip and if the Lord opens the door, she'll share Jesus with them. I am convinced though, that God has something wonderful in store for her as well.
If you get the chance, pray for Kelly. She'll leave in August and return in late October.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

First Saturday away from the Street Church

I got this email from Bill this week.

Hello John,
I just want to say that you are very special to me, as well as Ben and Kelly, and I completely understand your position ( not that you should worry if I didn't)
And I want to tell you that I care a lot about what you started, and I intend to continue it until Jesus says otherwise. I also realize
that HE will prevail on matter what. I will stay in touch.

Highest regards,


I was both gratified and saddened. This was my first Saturday where I'm no longer a leader or part of the Dallas Street Church. I bless Bill, David and Chris and ask God to direct their paths.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crystal Balls... not yet

I'm pondering my future. What does God want me to do? I've been involved with the homeless in Dallas pretty intensely for the past couple of years. I know God is leading me in different directions. I have a hard time just being still. Already this week, I've been thinking about checking out the homeless hang outs in Fort Worth this weekend.

I know I'm supposed to stop for a moment, and spend the time seeking God. But I have a hard time just sitting back. I don't feel like I'm being a profitable servant if I'm just "going" to church.

This is a time of transition and preparation. I really don't know what for yet. I actually prayed God I'll go anywhere for you. I've never had a desire to do foriegn mission work, yet I've actually become open to the possibilities. When I see kids dying of AIDS or starvation, it hurts me.

Of course I'm also touched by what is happening to children in the Appalachian mountains in our own nation. In some areas it's almost like having a third world nation within the borders of one of the most blessed nations on this planet. It really baffels me. When I see the feed the children commercials, I want to pack up my car and head out.

So on one hand, God is really continuing to touch my heart for the poor.

On the other hand, I believe that the church has lost touch with its supernatural heritage. I come from a pentecostal/chairsmatic background. I read the Gospels and the Book of Acts and drool. Oh where is that kind of power in the church today. They believed God and God did miraculous signs. In the last couple of months I've made it my mission to pray for sick people. I've seen some healed. Nothing dramatic yet, but I'm believing God. Last Saturday evening at Awakening Church, I had a word of knowledge about a back problem. It wasn't a big deal really. We had a guy who had been bowling and his back was sore, bothering him some. We prayed for him, and the soreness left immediately. We prayed for a number of other people. I don't know the results yet, but I am believing God.

God has always done the supernatural. Why not now? If Jesus was glorified in it in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, why is he not glorified in it now.

So part of my life mission I believe is to see restoration of this in the church.

I've even thought of buying an RV, going into poor areas, hanging out, preaching the Gospel, praying for the sick and starting new gatherings.

If I went this direction I would

1. Get to hang out with, minister to and preach the Gospel to the poor.
2. Be part of the process of seeing the supernatural power of God at work in the church.
3. Discipling people
4. Starting new gatherings - The RV could be the starting hub until a home in the community is found.

Well that's just thinking out loud. God didn't say that's the way I'm going. He hasn't said much yet. But that's kind of on my heart right now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Endings are New Beginnings

Saturday was a sad day and yet an exciting one.

Over the past several weeks the Dallas Street Church has dwindled in size. I'm not upset. Most of the reasons were good. Most of our guys have gotten jobs and were beginning to move off of the streets. Sometimes their jobs kept them from gathering with us. In a couple of cases the guys are now working and living in the Fort Worth area and it's not practical for them to come to Dallas. One of them, John, is now a part of one of our sister Churches in Fort Worth, The Way, which is a great church led by my friends Willie and Emily Butler. As a result, our normal Saturday gathering were composed of David, Bill and myself.

In addition, in the past six weeks or so, The Bridge, which is the new Dallas homeless facility has opened up, dramatically changing where the homeless hang out, their traffic patterns and everything. Frankly, most seem to be hanging out in the new Bridge courtyard. It's not a place I want to minister for a couple of reasons. First, having that many people in close proximity isn't really conducive to one on one ministry. Second, just getting close to the facility I absolutely feel the presence of demonic forces. It's so strong, I feel it. While I have taken on demons before. I have no desire to try to face that much demonic presence by myself. I try to use wisdom when I go after the Kingdom of darkness.

Over the past few months both Ben and Kelly who were great sources of support have felt the need to move on.

As a result, a couple of weeks ago, I really started asking God for the next step. What did he want us to do? I really didn't know what direction we should take. I prayed. A few days ago, I got part of an answer. I felt like I heard the Lord say that my time with the street church was completed. I was done there.

I didn't know if that just meant I was to move on and it was to continue without me or if we were to shut it down completely.

Saturday, I told the guys that the Lord had told me my time was done. There was a lot of sadness. Bill wondered if God had been displeased with what we had done as a church. I told him I didn't think that was it at all. We had missed God many times, but we tried to be open and repentant and if we felt we missed God we tried to get back on track.

For a group that usually ran between seven and ten people, here's what happened in the year and a half that we gathered as a body.

Two people confessed Christ as their saviour and were baptized
Many grew in their relationship with Christ.
Many grew in their knowledge and study of the Word of God.
Some were healed as we prayed for them.
Some received a baptism of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gift of tongues for prayer.
Some got to go spend time with their families as we helped provide finances.
Many were warmed in the winter as we provided blankets, sleeping bags, and hot hands.
Many experienced Gods love as we brought them clothing and socks.
Many were fed.

I don't believe that God was unhappy. As a matter of fact, there were times I think he may have smiled.

Bill and David decided they would continue meeting and would spend time in prayer to see what God wanted to do with them. Would he continue having them meet? Will he bring new life, new breath, and new direction? Or will he tell them this season is done and he has somthing else for them? I don't know. God didn't let me in on the plans for them.

I started hanging out with the homeless back in October 2006. We became a simple church in January 2007. I've been ministering in downtown Dallas almost every week for nearly two years now and really I don't know what's coming next.

I've been in a place of transition all year - actually since the end of last year. I believe God has ministry planned for me, but I don't know what it is yet. God hasn't spoken to me about it. I don't know if it will be among the homeless or who. I've been trying to surrender my will to the Lord more and more to the point where recently I've told him wherever, whatever he wanted.

I think for a short season though, I'm going to relax in the Lord and seek him and make sure he is the focus in my life. I've been to Lakeland Florida for the outpouring once where God met me powerfully and I am returning, hoping for more.

So one journey ends and another begins.... or actually in many ways it's part of the same journey and we just stopped at a railway station waiting for the next leg of the journey to begin.

Friday, June 13, 2008


God rarely ever speaks to me through dreams. Maybe I just don't get them and he has to be more direct. As a matter of fact, I rarely remember dreams, but the other day I had a spiritual dream.

I was in the door of a house. I was coming into the house. On my left, on a shelf in the entryway was a vase. A large cut rose was in the vase.

I looked ahead, and I could see Jesus' back. I didn't see his face, but somehow I knew it was him.

I looked and suddenly the rose started moving. It turned to face him, like some plants track the sun. I was amazed.

Then suddenly it burst into flames, leaving only the stem.

Then Jesus turned toward the stem. I still couldn't see his face, I just sensed that was what was happening. I watched in amazement as the stem blossomed out again, this time with a rose far more beautiful and far larger than before.
I don't know why the dream. I think I get the interpretation, helped out by a friend of mine, Larry.
As we seek Jesus, we die. But as we die, he brings his resurrection power into our lives and makes us better than before.
That makes since to me. I don't know why the dream, since I understand that principal already and have lived it to some degree.
But it was really a cool dream.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Homeless guy gets a job

I got an email yesterday. One of our newer guys who had gone missing for a few weeks contacted me. He has a job in Fort Worth now. He and his wife are getting custody of their child back. That's another positive.

That really only leaves two in our group without jobs. Pray for them. It's also time to make some decisions. As the guys are getting jobs, they are moving on to other churches closer to where they are working and living. This makes perfect sense and I encourage it. But that means we are down to just a couple of guys now. So there will be some key decisions about the future of the Dallas Street Church that are coming up. Pray for us.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lakeland Day 3

Our third and last day in Lakeland we experienced the change of venue. That was the first night in the new venue out near the airport.

Again I had to wrestle with the whole church pastor/leader special line thing. It ticked me off, but I was able to release it to God again and I asked the Lord to bless those men.

The new venue was interesting. It's like a tent with an aluminum frame. But it was cool, they have plenty of air conditioning. I hated the seats. I'm a big guy and the chairs they are using just felt flimsy. But it wasn't a big deal.

During worship, I began to press in again. I wanted the authority and faith to do miracles, to heal the sick. Just what I was watching - just what Jesus told us we would do. I had contended or this the night before and I still was.

Then the Lord began to speak to me. He told me "I want to teach you the supernatural power of Love." I know it seems shallow, but my reaction was to reject it. I didn't want to hear that. It isn't what I wanted to hear. God has been working on me about love for years. That's part of the reason I've been involved in ministry to the homeless. I need power that works quickly was one of my arguments to God. Love is slow. Love is painful. Love hurts. I have learned many of those lessons. I just want to be able to have faith to declare healing and see people healed.

Frankly, I didn't have a clue what God meant by the supernatural power of love. I argued with him. I cried. I just didn't want to hear it. Then it was like he spoke inside and said that he knew I was having problems with it. Would I be willing to let him make me willing to go that direction.

I cried for a while before surrendering. I said yes. But what does it mean. I don't know really. It's the start of another journey I believe. In his goodness, he didn't reject me for my initial refusal and he didn't rebuke me. I felt him loving me.

I really didn't pay any attention to most of the rest of the evening. Todd Bentley and his teams layed hands on everyone (ever so briefly - there were several thousand of us), but that really didn't seem to impact me. I was trying to process what the Lord had said.... I still am. I've asked.

I think God used the Lakeland experience to bring me to a transition point. I know I'm not the same and by God's grace I will go back for a longer period. I had such intense fellowship with the Lord. Maybe he'll talk to me more.

God is moving in Texas too.

I spoke with Joseph, leader of Awakening, a house/simple church I'm part of. While I was in Lakeland, God showed up powerfully. A new person came to the gathering and as I understand it, she manifested some demons. She was ministered too, the Demons were cast out. If that wasn't enough, another lady in the gathering, while they were ministering to and praying for the first lady was instantly, and soveriegnly healed of partial deafness in one ear. No one was praying for it. She wasn't praying for herself. God just did it.

Tuesday evening, I had the chance to go to a meeting in a house. I'm not sure that it is a "house church." I believe it was just a wonderful couple in Jesus who want to see God doing wonderful things. I believe that God exceeded everyone's expectations. See my view of it here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Another one of the Guys gets a job

Chris, one of the guys downtown sent me a text message yesterday
He has a job and start orientation next Tuesday

Praise God.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Working Man

John Sandford was one of our original guys at the Dallas Street Church. He is now a working man. Yesterday he started working at a factory in Fort Worth. He's staying with Ben Heap who has taken him under wing to disciple him. As a matter of fact, Ben baptized him about a year ago while Ben was a part of the Street Church.

I'm really happy that John's got a chance for a new start and I am praying that he'll make the most of it. I'll miss him downtown. He'll start attending THE WAY, one of our sister churches in Fort Worth that Ben attends. It'll be a good place for him to go deeper in the Word.

Our prayers are for you, John.

Lakeland Day 2

I've been back from Lakeland Florida for about a week now, and I'm still processing everything that happened in me there.

All of the miracles of healing excite me. But something seem to come more alive in me. I experienced more of the awe of God and the love of God.

The second day I just felt caught up with the Lord, and that seemed to permeate the place. It was the last night at the Lakeland Arena. The worship time was intense. At the usual time, David T. tried to transition out of worship... but the people there wouldn't have it... God wouldn't have it. He just had to step out of the way and let the worship continue.

I honestly don't know what happened on the platform that night. I was too caught up in my time with the Lord. I also began wrestling with him on the supernatural. I am convinced that we need the supernatural power of God for ministering to people, especially people on the streets, they need to have hope - and another sermon isn't going to give them what they need. They need some of the demonstration of the Kingdom of God.

I've wrestled with God before. I wrestled with him when I got saved. I've wrestled with him at other times. I will wrestle with him until I get what I'm after or he transforms my heart. I began wrestling with him. I want the annointing to command sickness to leave. To command the lame to walk and see it happen, to command addictions to leave and wholeness to come to a person and watch it happen.

I prayed, I cried. I was undone about myself. I had two words from others that night that I don't know. One lady told me I had faith. Another man prayed for me. He asked if I was a minister. I told him about the street church. He said that God would increase my love and the ministry would explode because people would see the love.

I really didn't think too much about those words at the time. Day 3 kind of changed that. But that's another post.