Who We Are.

At Love In the Name of Christ, we have a set of Core Values… things the ministry places of utmost importance. You can find them on our website www.LoveINCSAW.org. Our second core value is:

Prayer is an integral part of who we are.

We begin each work day in prayer… for our neighbors (those in need we encounter), for our loved ones, for our volunteers, for the ministry, for specific churches and The Church, for our country, and, if you’re reading this, we have most likely prayed for you, too. We have seen God miraculously answer one prayer after another.

We also pray with our neighbors in need when we deliver the items they’ve requested. Our team also prays with folks when they pick up a donation from a generous soul who thinks of Love INC before parting with a sofa, a washer and dryer, or some other household item someone else could use.

Last Friday was a day full of blessings for our delivery team. Our team delivered a sofa, a table lamp, some bed sheets, and tableware to a gentleman in Staunton suffering from a mental illness. After delivering the couch and other items to the top floor of an apartment building, everyone circled up with the gentleman for prayer. When asked what to pray for, the gentleman asked that God would help him find a job.

In his apartment was one chair, a table, and presumably, a bed. He had nothing. He was relying on food pantries for daily sustenance. He wasn’t a freeloader, preying on the kindhearted. He was hurting and humble. He was truly in need.

Is he capable of holding a job? Possibly. However, he wasn’t content “working the system.” He desired to be productive. Our team was privileged to pray with him. We expect God to find a way for him to be productive.

Then the team went to another part of the county to pick up a small donation. When they arrived, they found a cheerful elderly mother and her adult daughter pointing the way to the place to load up the donation. After loading, the mother and daughter were asked, “How can we pray for you?”

The mother immediately broke down in tears, telling the team that she had just lost her husband of many, many years, who died suddenly, eight days after a diagnosis of a tumor. Of course, this was the father of the daughter as well, and through tears, they both told of their heartache. Again, everyone circled up in prayer for the privilege of going to the Throne of Grace together.

As they left each precious soul on Friday, they knew they had ministered love in the name of Christ.

Prayer is an integral part of who we are.

A simple hug…

I had a very moving experience Friday as part of a Love INC delivery to one of our neighbors in need. It was a small delivery — paper products, hygiene items, and a footstool. A footstool? Yes.

Our neighbor was a below-the-knee amputee who had diabetes, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and had a heart valve replaced, too. She was younger than me. She seemed in surprisingly good health — physically. She requested a footstool to keep her leg propped up.

Before we leave, we always pray for our neighbors, so I asked her how I could pray for her. With her head bowed, she said that she couldn’t possibly ask for prayers for herself. I just let that hang in the air. Then I got down on a knee to her level in her wheelchair, and with the gentleman who helped me, we held hands and formed a small circle of prayer.

As I prayed for wholeness for this neighbor, I heard a sniffle, and when I said, “Amen,” she was sobbing. I asked her about it and she replied that she had worked hard for her family for years and years, but now at she needed help, they weren’t helping her. It was heartbreaking. I hugged her, and… she seemingly wouldn’t let go. She was still sobbing. I imagine it was the first hug she had received in months!

She said that she couldn’t pray for herself because she was supposed to be strong, right?!? I said, “No. We aren’t supposed to be strong. In fact, none of us are. We are supposed to be weak in order that God can be strong.” I told her that my New Year’s Resolution this year was to be weaker and dumber than ever. After a laugh, I told her why.

“I want to be weak, so that God can work more and more in me, and more and more through me. And I want to be dumber, so that I can be filled with His wisdom. That way, He gets all the glory.”

We hugged again, and again, she wouldn’t let go.

I don’t think I was hugging her.

I think Jesus was.

Structured Persistence

I’m a regimented person. I know it. I like structure. A lot. To a fault. Sometimes this quality serves me well; sometimes it doesn’t.

One of the ways it doesn’t is when I’m in a season of life or in a situation in life where things are chaotic. My new job at Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) is like that right now. They’ve never really had someone doing the things I’m doing (and going to do), so there’s no blueprint on how to do the job. There’s no job manual and no job description, per se. That really doesn’t mesh well with my structured personality, but with God’s help, I’m adapting.

But one of the ways this trait works well for me is when I participate in structured programs, like memorizing Scripture while reading a 30-day devotional book which coincides the memorization. I’ve succeeded at others that were similar, like 40 Days of Purpose by Rick Warren, 90-day exercise programs, and now, The 40-Day Prayer Challenge – Draw The Circle by Mark Batterson.

Tomorrow will be Day 1 on this 40-day journey, done with all the folks at Love INC, all of whom also have the book Draw The Circle. We are doing it together, believing that God will do great things in us and through us. We expect to be different on Day 40 than we are on Day 1.

Mark Batterson, the author of Draw The Circle says:

“The goal of the 40-day Prayer Challenge isn’t to get what you want by Day 40. In fact, the goal isn’t to get what you want at all. The goal is to figure out what God wants’ what God wills. Then start circling it in prayer and don’t stop until God answers.”

That’s what I’m going to do and that’s what we’re going to do at Love INC.

(Love In the Name of Christ [Love INC] is a national network of non-profit organizations which are committed to meeting needs and transforming lives by the love of Christ through the Body of Christ, His church. To find out more, visit our local ministry Facebook page HERE, or hear the story behind the ministry HERE)

Click HERE to find the book, Draw The Circle by Mark Batterson on Amazon.com.

I’m not satisfied…

I was listening to the song “Believe” by Hillsong as I was riding my motorcycle home last night, and the familiar lyrics struck a chord within me yet again. Here’s most of the lyrics:

I say on Sunday how much I want revival
But then on Monday, I can’t even find my Bible
Where’s the power,
The power of the cross in my life?
I’m sick of playing the game of religion
I’m tired of losing my reason for living
Where’s the power, the power of the cross in my life?

I’m not content just to walk through my life,
Giving in
to the lies, walking in compromises.
 we cry out as a generation that was lost
But now is found in the power of the cross

I’m not satisfied doing it my own way
I’m not satisfied to do church and walk away
I’m not satisfied there’s no love in my life but You
I’m not satisfied living in yesterday’s hour
I’m not satisfied to have the form but not the power
I’m not satisfied. Lord I am crucified in You.

We believe in You
We believe in the power of Your Word that is true
We believe in You
So we lay down our cause
That our cross might be found in You

I was riding home after having the privilege of meeting with a woman I’m mentoring each week as part of the New Image class offered by Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC). It is a 12-week class and mentors/mentees meet in-between class dates. This is Level 2 of the classes. My mentee has already gone through 12 weeks of classes, and, after these classes are over, she wants to take another 12-week session. God has done and is doing an amazing work in her, and I have the privilege of witnessing it. (This is what makes Love INC great — meeting needs and transforming lives with the love of Christ through the Body of Christ)

Anyway, as I was riding home, this song was playing and I was thinking about the great work God has done in this precious woman (and her family as well). The lyrics hit home.

No more playing religion.
No more Sunday-only Christianity.
No more living in the past.
No more having the form but not the power.
I’m not satisfied with that! There’s so much more!
Where’s the power of the Cross in my life?

It’s a good question to ask.