Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To the Line.

We have to beat the negativity to the line. We are in a race against traffickers, abusers, poverty, illiteracy, low-self worth, hopelessness, hunger...We have to out-run them. Plain and simple.
But "Though we may be out-numbered we are never over-powered!" The power of real love- God's love, has no match!
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed or just down-right tired, but as I have learned from running races, you have to run through the thoughts and feelings, even the pain sometimes, and focus on the finish. Things affect me. But I have to keep running. I have to keep helping. I have to keep praying. What if the pimps get to her first? What if that child's only positive feedback is what he hears from us? What if we wouldn't have been here today when that little one got hurt? What if this were MY son? Has anyone ever rocked this baby? What is this man's story? ...This man going through the physical effects of drugs, convulsing on the curb, unable to speak to me while I hold his shaking hand and sing over him? I see tears coming down his cheeks but no words are forming. What would he tell me if he could? What if...

WHAT IF WE LEARNED THE POWER OF 
RELENTLESS LOVE?
  20 years ago I was just getting my feet wet in street ministry; feeding the poor, stopping for the one...telling people about Jesus "off-stage." I grew up singing and playing music. I was a "performer," aiming to be a recording artist and full-time touring singer/songwriter. I loved God and people, but from a distance and with eyes half-open. Then I saw Him. HIM. Jesus opened my eyes and I fell in love and became just as addicted as anyone else. But not to heroin or crack,  sex or porn. I became addicted to knowing God and helping the helpless. He opened my eyes. It felt like the first time I ever got glasses. "Wow...This is what I should have been seeing all along? I never knew! WOW! It's all so clear now!" And once we see, we are accountable. Sometimes, for a split second, I try to convince myself that I have an option. That I don't have to care this much or get so "involved." But then I remember. And I keep running. I keep going because that's what God the Father did for me. He kept loving me, pursuing me, waiting for me to fully awaken to the purpose and the need all around me. That same relentless love that He poured into me, I now carry for those who need it the most. They are not "them," they are me. And what if He had opted out of loving me? 
 What if, just short of the cross, just short of the "finish line," He would have said "It's too much. The burden is too heavy..." All hope would be lost. But He didn't. For the JOY set before Him, He endured...
  I can honestly report to you that for every tear, pain, burden, challenge, sacrifice or inconvenience, the JOY set before me is worth it all. The ones who cannot see or refuse to see? They are the ones missing out and missing the opportunities of a lifetime. They are missing out on some serious JOY!
  Someone, right now, needs you to join the race. Some child, homeless mom, lonely widow, lost co-worker...someone needs YOU to see. Someone needs you to care. Really care. Really SEE.
The statistics are staggering for human trafficking, orphans, hunger, disease...But remember: "Though we may be outnumbered, we are never over-powered!" God's love is bigger than all the numbers combined. We can out-run these problems, one life at a time, one step at a time. Every step matters. Every life is precious. Open your eyes. Pray for compassion. To the line. Who's with me?

-Jessica Goodman, Founding Pastor, Village of Hope Ministries
www.villageofhopeministries.org
 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A glimpse of today

"I bleed for the Middle East! I bleed for the Middle East! Blow the trumpet in Zion! Who will go? Who will go?" God cries out through prophetic voice. Voices are lifted in intercession. Songs of surrender and pilgrimage ring out. We pray for China, Harlem NY, Florida...A young boy dances and flips on the floor, no shoes, dirty feet...pure joy erupting from somewhere deep inside. A staff member boldly proclaims the heart of God on the open mic. She leaves for Africa, indefinitely, in 2 months. Prayers and tears and worship flow freely. Incense rising up from an unlikely place.

"Guess what Miss Jessie?"
"You're pregnant." 
"Yes."
 "Was it consensual?" 
 "No."
...I hold close and cry deep. Then I hold a small child who glues to my shoulder.

Food goes out by the bags and bags. The gospel is preached. Prayers for healing are answered. Spirits are stirred up as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth confronts counterfeit spirits. Coffee pours, hugs are exchanged, clothing is given away and diapers and wipes. Free hot meals are served and Hope shows up. Again. Jesus is here in every single moment.

We walk through the heat, carrying children and groceries, alongside a neighbor who is pregnant for the first time. We pray, walk, say hello and dream. We see Him here. Him. Jesus. The hope of the World. We are tired but we are in love. We will be back. He will be waiting.