Paradise, CA

Paradise, California community (and a few church members) encounter Jesus for the first time.

“I’m a pastor’s son, and third generation Seventh-day Adventist, and I just met Jesus for the first time today,” he says with tears in his eyes as he grips my hand. “I cannot thank you enough.”

And THAT is one of the reasons we do what we do here at Renewed Heart Ministries. Regardless of whether a person falls into the ever popular ways of categorizing people, such as churched or unchurched, God loves all, God died to rescue all, and God is alive enough today to reach all regardless of whether they are religious or not. In actuality, it is the religious who present the greatest challenge when it comes to helping them see the radical teachings of who their Jesus actually was.

For all of you who prayed for the nine-day event in Paradise, CA, I want to personally thank you. We gave our Life Unlimited series, which you can find on our website.

The topics we covered were: Jesus’ radically different understanding of God’s character, and, therefore, God’s prevenient forgiveness, Jesus’ answer to the why of human suffering, a Jesus-defined understanding of the Cross through the paradigm of Rescue rather than satisfaction, Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence, his call to embrace poverty to help the poor, his command to abandon hierarchy in favor of the brother and sisterhood of all believers, and many, many more.

Each night I was swarmed by people after the presentations whose hearts were overflowing with gratitude for their encounters with Jesus and the Father’s radical, self-sacrificial, other-centered love. For some, it was a first time encounter. And not all of those first time encounters were from the unchurched.

I’m on my way back to my family as I write this. I’m home for one day and then I’m off to Wisconsin to do it all over again.

Please pray for me, my family, and those in the area I will be next that hearts will be ready and open to encounter Jesus.

This Friday night we begin The Jesus Dialogue in Raymond, Wisconsin. I’m tired. I feel worn. But just this week I was reminded of the 17th century Moravians who, when forbidden to share Jesus with the slaves, sold themselves into slavery to do so. When the slave owners’ ship pulled out of the harbor, headed for the West Indies, they cried back to their loved ones on the shore, “May the Lamb who was slain, receive the reward of His suffering.”

This has become my motto this month. It is my cry and the creed I am living by. When my feet grow weary, when my head feels heavy, and when my heart is longing for my home, “May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering”!

I love you guys. Thank you to each of you for your prayers and support.

I’ll keep you posted.