Church Body

Innkeepers

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Two weeks ago my good friend Debbi Bryson came to Albuquerque to teach at a women’s event at our Nob Hill campus. Debbi is a gifted encourager and teacher. She persuades everyone who crosses her path to follow her as she follows Christ. She doesn’t just tell you to seek God; she says, “Let’s seek Him together.”

One of the things Debbi and I have in common is our heart for lost people. On Friday night we met at the Nob Hill campus, which is right in the middle of downtown. The heart of this campus is rooted in the history and nostalgia of early Albuquerque, but also hopes to reach its current residents, many drug addicts and homeless.

We spent time in prayer before heading to dinner. We asked God to reveal to us the lost people who need Him most. He would answer that prayer as fast as we stepped out of the front doors to go to dinner. As I walked toward the restaurant a few blocks away, Donnie came up beside me and asked for help. Familiar with the homeless lifestyle I didn’t want to offer him money but I wanted to give him something. From experience I know most homeless live on handouts and scraps.  I offered to buy him a hamburger. He readily accepted. As we walked down Central, Debbi soon caught up with us and asked if we were headed for food, so off we went in search of a hamburger.

When we got to the restaurant, we sat Donnie down at a table, ordered him a meal, and I paid the waitress. She was stunned at the gesture. Debbi looked right into Donnie’s eyes and asked him if he was tired. He explained his trials with drinking and being a prisoner of alcohol. Debbi and I assured him that he could be free, through the love and power of Jesus Christ. Donnie told us that every day he goes into the bathroom and cries because of this prison. He wept the tears of a broken man. Debbi and I wept at the power sin has in our lives and those around us wept as they realized what we were doing for him. Debbi had a gospel tract in her purse for such occasions and I gave him the number for Joy Junction and told him to call. We prayed over him, encouraged him to seek Jesus, and said goodbye. We could only hope the seeds we planted would be watered by God’s love.

The next day, Debbi retold our story to a group of 100 ladies. She said that we cannot expect to be able to fix every broken person God sends us. He alone can fix them. We can’t meet every need they have and sometimes we need to send them to the “innkeepers” in our lives. She then told the story of the Good Samaritan. You probably know it well. Jesus is teaching in Capernaum and lawyer stands up and asks Jesus what he must to do inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him what the law says and the lawyer quotes it: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus affirms this is the right answer. Then the lawyer asks a pointed question, “And who is my neighbor?”

We pick it up in Luke 10:30-35:  Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'”

Yes the Samaritan offered his hand, cleaned up the man, and picked him up off the road, but it’s what he did next that we need to pay attention to. He took him to the innkeeper. He gave the innkeeper money to house and feed him, and then said he would be back with more to cover what else was needed in his absence.

We can’t always do everything on our own; we just don’t have the resources. But we can have innkeepers in our life to direct people to in times of trouble. I keep the phone numbers to a few different agencies in my cell phone for such occasions. I hope Donnie sought out help at Joy Junction and read the tract Debbi gave him. I hope he continually hears the words of our prayers over him and remembers Debbi looking him in the eye telling him he can be free.

Here are a few of my “innkeepers.” Keep these in your cell phone or in your car and ask God to send you some wounded people who are half dead. He might answer your prayer the next time you get in your car.

Joy Junction (505) 877-6967 (emergency housing, meals, and clothing)

Albuquerque Rescue Mission (505) 346-4673 (emergency housing, meals, and clothing)

Love INC (505) 255-5683 (assistance with food, clothing, household items, and counseling)

The Storehouse (505) 842-6491 (food and clothing)

Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque (pregnancy options counseling):
Administrative Office (505) 880-8373
NE Heights Center (505) 880-0882
East Mountains Center (505) 281-5408
Rio Rancho (505) 896-2306
Valencia County (505) 565-3838

Family Advocacy Center (domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault)
Non-emergencies (505) 242-2677
            After hours (505) 243-2333

You can read more about Debbi’s ministry at http://www.biblebusstop.com/

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Family

Welcome Home

Lenya_babyLARGE

I love Israel. We spent two weeks retracing the “footsteps of Paul.” With one week in Israel and another week on a Mediterranean cruise, we stopped at some of the major places Paul mentions in his letters: Ephesus, Corinth, Crete. I have been to Israel over 30 times. It’s fresh and new and each time I love it more than the last. I love to travel anywhere. From Honolulu to see my brother Scott to Michigan and the home I grew up in, I like the different sites and cities. But do you know what I love most about traveling? Coming home! I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, there’s no place like home! Back to my comfy bed, my cozy home, and my warm church family.

Returning home after this trip was much more anticipated than usual because my granddaughter (who I told you about last month) was waiting for me when we arrived! Sweet Kaydence Joy was born May 29 at 10:32 pm with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was 20 inches long and weighed 7.1 pounds, the perfect little package.

Battling the jetlag and exhaustion that comes from being gone for three weeks, I still couldn’t wait to hold her. It was the sweetest welcome home. I snuggled her in my arms and kissed her cheek and I thought of an even sweeter welcome home waiting for me in heaven. Jesus told the disciples He would go and prepare a place for them (see John 14) and we have been told earth is not our home (see Phil. 3:20). Even the Holy Land of Israel, where you can see and hear Jesus’ words coming to life from the pages of Scripture, even that is not my home.

Jesus waits for the time and day He has orchestrated to meet me face to face; a time and day only He knows. When my work here is finished, it will be the sweetest welcome home. Just as much as I longed to hold sweet Kaydence in my arms, I know Jesus longs to hold me and welcome me into His heavenly embrace.