Saturday, September 17, 2005
Update from Trinity's Pastor Michael Sprague
"I got a note from a friend yesterday who was hit hard from the hurricane. His wife was living in a different city and he was here on the Northshore digging out. His words were written this way, “No Electricity but we have power! (in the Holy Spirit).” I trust you can say “Amen” from whatever the part of the country you reside, because the people of Trinity Church are experiencing this.
It’s amazing how doors of opportunity are flying open as we serve people.
1. One woman I talked to had lost three children in the last few years and now lost her home. We helped her with supplies and as I prayed that God would put her tears in a bottle as the scripture states, she wondered if God’s bottle was big enough. She needed a church home and said she would come Sunday. Another man had his wife leave him this week and he is homeless. Another woman lost everything.
2. Our “Free Store” has a constant flow of visitors. Each has a story of brokenness, hurt and perplexity. Every encounter is a chance to share Christ, food, prayer, and love. What a ministry!
3. Last night, we served a free dinner and had a powerful sharing service. The testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the midst of pain were Job-like. God’s interventions are marvelous. Work team members have been transformed. People from the neighborhood stood and expressed astonishment that total strangers would clear their lots for free. The Holy Spirit was moving powerfully. Several people confessed that they may have caused the hurricane. They had been praying for the last year that revival would come to Trinity Church and New Orleans….they prayed “God, whatever it takes”….after observing the last week they were convinced the revival had begun.
4. Imagine another set of work teams going into Slidell with buckets, mops and bleach willing to scrub out black mold that is everywhere. All kinds of people are asking “Who are you? Why are you doing this?” Of course the answer is Jesus Christ has changed their lives.
5. It’s hard to describe the joy and exuberance of Trinity folks and team members from 13 states knit together in a purpose far bigger than we can describe. Though we are weary in body, we are not weary in zeal and devotion. There is nothing more important to invest our lives in. The cause of Christ is worth it.
In closing, a thought about those who are saying this is God’s judgment of New Orleans. Someone told me this a few days ago and I’m sure many are thinking this. Far be it from me to fully know the mind of God. He is both righteous and loving. Yet in Luke 13:1—5, I find a similar train of thinking 2000 years ago. It seems Pilate killed a bunch of Galileans and 18 people were killed when the tower of Siloam fell. As usual, religious folks assumed that this calamity was God’s judgment upon the unrighteous. Jesus seems to think they had missed the point. Anyone can be killed. The worst thing in the world is not dying; it’s dying without Christ, our Savior. Jesus is saying during devastating times, “do not point the finger of condemnation at others but check your own heart.” Do you have peace with God? He, of course, is the source of that peace.
My observation is that when people throw rocks at so called sinners, those people get driven farther away. When people get loved and shown grace they are drawn to the One who saves from sin. I believe the people of New Orleans and the Northshore matter to God. I hope you do too!
Betting the farm on God,
photo from freefoto.com