I never thought I would find myself standing outside of a brothel in Reno, Nevada. Yet, there I was. It was immaculately kept on the outside. The building was a portrait of luxury and excess. But I knew it wasn’t by chance that I was standing here. God had helped orchestrate my steps one-by-one to bring me to this place.
A year earlier, after months of prayer, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to attend a school in South Lake Tahoe, CA for people who had a heart for missions. So, I sent in my application and was accepted. But very quickly I found myself facing financial and logistical hurdles. I started to doubt if this was something God had really called me to do. How would I raise the funds needed? Where would I live when I returned from school? But, one by one, miracle after miracle, God helped me stack all of the pieces together. In the midst of my doubts, God kept reminding me of the truth of who He was and what He was calling me toward. And that truth became even more clear the day I met Melody at the school in Tahoe.
Melody had been a street prostitute for 17 years. She had been abused as a child, found herself working as a prostitute at 17, and even spent periods of her life homeless on the streets. Then, at 34, she found out she was HIV positive. Her life had hit rock bottom. She was faced with a choice: either end her own life, or—something even harder—reach out for help. Thankfully, the friend Melody decided to call that day helped her start on a journey that would ultimately lead to healing and restoration.
So here I was, standing at the doors of a brothel alongside an evangelism team from my school. Inside, I knew there were numerous people with stories like Melody’s who just needed a friend. But I was letting myself be crippled by fear. And as I started to question my reasons for being there, Melody’s words recounting her time on the street came back to my mind.
I would have given anything if one person would have [come] up to me and showed they cared. Not necessarily taking me off the streets. If one person would’ve [come] up to me and said, “We just want to love you,” I think it would have made a huge difference. Instead, people would constantly come up to my saying, “You’re going to hell. You have to get out of this lifestyle. You’re a bad person.” I already felt like I was in hell. They were not telling me things I didn’t already know.
Her story reminded me of the power we have to help change the course of a person’s life—the opportunity we have to be part of helping someone experience the power of the resurrection. In that moment, as I decided to walk through the doors, I realized that my role is just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle.
I had every reason to give in to fear and practicality and not go to that school in Tahoe; but I’m thankful I didn’t. My encounter with Melody has changed the way I live. I now know that every person I meet is potentially one encounter away from the Father—and I get to be a part of it. Her story has shown me the importance of stopping for just one person...to love them as they are and simply set the stage for God to perform a miraculous work.
So who is that one person in your life? Who’s the person that needs to hear they’re loved and accepted just as they are? Trust where the Holy Spirit is leading you and know that, no matter how small it may be, you have a role to play in helping someone else experience Jesus. And maybe, your first step is inviting them to Easter services this weekend.
Sometimes, life throws us curve balls. Everything is going fine then, out of the blue, we're faced with sickness, a financial hurdle, or the loss of a job. Often, the circumstances are out of our control and we're left trying to pick up the pieces and put them back together. It's for times like these that the Dollar Club exists—to extend hope to families in Central Kentucky who are facing hard, unexpected financial situations. And this past week, because you gave an extra dollar for the Dollar Club, we were able to help a family who recently found themselves facing one of those curve balls.
In 2015, they were blessed by being able to adopt two boys who they had been fostering for three years. It seemed like everything was coming together for their family. But within a few months of one of the happiest times of their lives, the dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have part of his lung removed. Amazingly, he went back to work within two weeks after the surgery and had been working every day up until earlier this month. In the midst of what they thought had been a steady recovery, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Unfortunately, he is no longer able to drive, lift anything over five pounds, and has found himself unable to work. With his vacation and sick time exhausted, his employer is trying to help him receive disability, but it's proving to be a slower process than hoped. This has left his family facing medical bills, living expenses, and some much-needed home repairs without the financial means to cover them.
But because of the dollar you gave last week for the Dollar Club, we were able to call them and extend some hope their way at a time they needed it the most. We're going to help them repair the heating for the home, perform some repairs on their roof, and cover some of their living expenses. This will give their family the time they need to focus on fighting the cancer and caring for one another.
Thanks for giving an extra dollar each week to help us extend hope to families here in Central Kentucky. And remember, you can always be a part of the Dollar Club by giving online.
Ever tried to share your faith and had someone argue with you about it?Scared to share Jesus because you may not be accepted by your friends or family if you do?Maybe you’ve shared your faith and they just don’t get it. Or they just keep arguing with you about it.The number one thing you have to remember is that it’s not your job to change their mind. It’s your job to point them to Jesus and let Him change their heart.It's not your job to change their mind. It's your job to point them to Jesus.5 Ways to Talk About Faith Without Getting Into an Argument
1. Tell your story.No one can argue your personal story—what your life was like before you met Jesus, how you met Jesus, and what your life has been like since you met Jesus. It doesn’t usually make people defensive when you are talking about yourself and what Jesus has done for you.2. Be consistent.It’s hard to hit a moving target. It is hard for someone to understand what Jesus has done in your life when one week you are strong in your convictions, but the next week you live how you want to live.This doesn’t mean you can no longer make mistakes because you will. We all do. Sometimes people learn more by how we respond to our own mistakes than anything we could say. This just means that you are consistently seeking direction from God and striving to live by it daily.3. Love them.A meaningful way we can show love to people, especially those who live differently than we do, is to show them grace. We don’t want to stand before them and be their judge of the things we believe they are doing wrong. We want to love them for who they are regardless of the choices they are making.When Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself” was the next greatest commandment to loving God (Matthew 22:37-39), He didn’t put any conditions on it. He simply said to love them.4. Serve them.There is no better way to get someone’s attention than to serve them and meet their needs.When you are trying to tell someone about Jesus, but they have a significant need not being met, your words are meaningless. However, when you put them above yourself and meet their needs, they are much more open to listening to you.Jesus says He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). How can you go out of your way to serve someone that you can’t talk to about Jesus?5. Pray for them.One of the greatest sources of power that we have is prayer. This is our way of asking the God of the universe for something. We are children of God when we accept Jesus as our savior, so it is like asking our dad to help us out. What father doesn’t want to bless his kids? Especially when what we are asking for brings Him more glory!Jesus tells us that when we ask in His name (John 16:24), with the right motives (James 4:3), that we will receive. Pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to them. Pray that Jesus would use you in the process. Pray for God to show you how you can better love and serve them.Pray for boldness to tell your story.