Have you ever had the feeling you were living on some kind of Christian autopilot? Have you had a time in your life when nothing moves you and you have no idea how you are going to get free? It’s as if your mind is moving, but your heart is frozen. Have you ever been stuck in that place not just for a day, not just for a week, but for a whole season of your life? You want to feel again, but your heart becomes a stubborn wall that just won’t cave in.
I had never felt that way in my life until year eighteen in ministry. “Why do I feel this way, God?” I prayed. “I’m only a thirty-eight-year-old pastor and life has been wonderful.” Right up to that point, that is.
I started to feel the agonizing process of getting mad at myself because I wasn’t content. I knew I had so much going for me that I became irritated at myself for not seeing it. It’s a cycle of sadness and condemnation, and the carousel continues. For me the stage lasted several months. Can anyone else identify with this?
But then everything changed. Never will I forget that night. It was a Thursday night church service. Before every offering I have someone from our recovery program give a testimony on how their life has changed since living at the Dream Center. It’s the highlight of the service. Usually it’s someone who has had a lifetime of drug problems and has now been clean for months. They share their story, and the crowd goes wild.
This particular night a man gave a testimony on how he and his son were living on the cold streets of Skid Row, homeless. One night a Dream Center bus picked them up and brought them to church. The father was days away from losing his kids to foster care, but because the Dream Center gave him a place to live his life was restored. At the end of his testimony he fell to his knees, looked up at me, and said, “Pastor, thank you for saving my life.”
I immediately felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to fall to my knees and get lower than the man and tell him how much of an honor it was to serve him. I fell to my knees at a position lower than his already humble posture and said, “Thank you for allowing me to serve you.” Then the phrase “You get to serve” flooded my heart. It was the Spirit talking.
The revelation was beautiful, but God wasn’t done. The next day, I got a phone call from the elementary school down the street that we as the church had adopted. We put thousands of dollars into that elementary school because it had so much need. Funding had been cut in the Los Angeles school districts, so we as a church decided we would fill the gap.
We decided to give weekly grocery bags from our mobile food truck to every parent at the school who needed it. We also provide toys for every student at Christmas and have raised thousands of dollars for new technology for the classrooms. It has become a beautiful partnership between the church and the public school.
I picked up the phone to answer a call from the school. “Pastor, the kids have written a song to say thank you for helping the school,” said the principal of Rosemont Elementary. “They love the Dream Center and want to dedicate this song. They wrote the lyrics and the melody. You’ve got to come hear it.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Matthew Barnett