I talked to the lady at the hotel who puts out our breakfast. “What do you do?” she asks. We must look like a sight, scrounging around for donuts and eggs and coffee with all our ragamuffin kids.
“We travel for work,” I say. But, I can tell she’s still curious, so I do my best to explain.
“We help churches. We go live on their parking lot.” I point out the window at our house on wheels. “We help the people with their marriages and their families and their relationship with God.” She nods slowly, like maybe she’s tracking with me. “We help them with their hard things. We help them become healthy in their hearts.” I pat my chest with my hand. “In here. We help them with what’s in here.”
She smiles wide and nods earnestly. I think maybe she gets it—the rest of what I didn’t have time to explain. That churches are meant to be hospitals for souls. But, oftentimes they end up being more like social clubs. So, we help them become hospitals again.
When we get to a new church, we set up house, and it feels like a ritual. I scrub down the floors and the cabinets and the counters again. We have these slide-outs, and while we’re flying down the road, dirt and dust always get in.
Today, I pulled a twig out from behind the microwave. I laughed. You might live in an RV if you have twigs poking out from behind your microwave.
I dust the rugs out and lay them down. Undo the bungee cords from all the cabinets. We’re in a new place. So we begin new again. It’s a fresh start. We’re on mission. There are prayers to pray as I wipe the grit from the kitchen table, “Father God, what do You want to do here? Please bring Your kingdom.”
And God reminds me that we’re here, so His kingdom IS here. This is not egotistical thinking. It’s just that wherever God’s people are, there is His kingdom. We’ve got His eternal Spirit living inside our chests.
Doesn’t matter where we go. To a church or to a gas station or to a dark alleyway. When we show up, He shows up. This is life with Emmanuel. The God who is constantly with us.
The view changes each week. Sometimes there is a broad patch of sky. Sometimes a field. Other times, we park right next to a dumpster and a brick wall.
But, the mission stays the same. We help people with their hearts. We help them have a close friendship with God. They call us revivalists. That just means we help people come back to life.
There’s a certain quality of life that Jesus talks about. Abundant life. It doesn’t mean we become rich. Or famous. Or that we’ll never suffer from anything or get sick. It doesn’t mean we won’t have relational struggles. It just means that there, in the deepest part of us, we’ve got an overflowing creek flowing from within.
This is life in the Spirit. The kind of life that Jesus came to give us. As we walk with Him, we simply become more alive and more free. There on our insides. And we have this ability to water the dry places around us. To quench thirst. To saturate whatever community we find ourselves in with the goodness that the Father has poured into us:
The craziest kind of love.
My family and I live on parking lots. When we step out each day, there are yards and yards of asphalt beneath our feet. But, always, there is beauty at hand. We simply need the kind of eyes that see.
When I woke up this morning, God reminded me that I am a seeker.
On purpose, I set out looking for the Father. Daily I search, and daily I find. And isn’t this the way of all God’s children?
We are God’s ministers. But, we also need to be ministered to. Even revivalists need to be daily revived.
Our Father God intricately created each one of us through Christ Jesus to join Him in the work that He wants to do. We’ve got some meaningful, significant things to accomplish here (see Ephesians 2:10). But, since ministers pour out, we become depleted.
So, we remember first to tend to our own souls.
Jesus taught us this—we don’t live on bread alone. (Or, as my kids would have it, we don’t survive merely on peanut butter and jelly with a side of mac-n-cheese.) Instead, we take time to nourish our whole self. Our bodies and our souls. We are fed by God and His Word.
This week in Ohio, there are all these clouds, and so much room to see the sky. There’s also a homeless community across the road, living under the bridge. They say drugs are a huge struggle in this town.
So, I sweep the floors in my trailer house, and I’m emboldened to pray powerful prayers.
“Father God, tear down the strongholds that devour life in this place, that take people captive and then leave them homeless. Bring Your kingdom here. In Jesus’ name!”
And God whispers it gently again, “My child, you and your team showed up. My kingdom has come.”