Yesterday I got to go to church!! It was the first time in 6 WEEKS. I cannot tell you how much I had missed it. It was WONDERFUL to be there and to worship with my church family. They have been so supportive of us the past 2 years that I've been really sick by bringing food, coming to the hospital to see me, sending cards, and most of all just praying and giving encouragement and love. Every time I go to church I'm overwhelmed by the love. Yes our church is huge (over 2000 people I think), but to me it feels like home. I've gone there my whole life and it seems like I know everyone. Of course I don't know everyone. Church is like my second home.
At the leadership team lock-in we created "teams". Just like last year, I am on the prayer team. I love being a part of this group. During this summer, God has been working on our youth group in amazing ways. We described it as an explosion of love! There is an attitude change within us. People have started actually opening up about their lives and struggles. It seems like we understand how God can use us and we are willing to be used. God has opened our eyes and hearts. It's incredible how you can feel that things are really changing. There are prayer times that are happening at schools during lunch. There are worship times that just happen in the moment.
This year we are starting something called Mission 127. Mission 127 was started after this verse from James 1:27.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
We had a lesson that challenged us to rethink this verse. Yes, it means to help actual orphans and widows. But, it also means spiritual orphans. People who have never known their Heavenly Father. They have never had a relationship with Him. It also means spiritual widows. People who have know Christ, but who have been separated from Him from sin or other reasons. They did know Him, but for whatever reason have fallen away from Him.
I had really never thought about it that way. So Mission 127 is our opportunity to help those orphans and widows. They have picked 12 different places around Oklahoma City. We are going to pick 1 primary place that we are willing to let God use us. Every Saturday (I think) we will go to our place and form a relationship with the people there.
"It's not about religion, it's about a relationship"
Just as knowing God is about a relationship, trying to tell people about Jesus isn't just about giving rules or guidelines. It's about showing love to people first and then studying with them about what God wants us to do.
Back to yesterday, we had our first prayer team meeting. There are 10 of us in the group. We came up with so many different ways to pray for the things happening. We are going to go to each of the 12 places in our city and spend time praying for those places and the people who are there. We spent time praying for Mission 127 but also just for God to keep changing our hearts. We have started thinking about different times to pray for things about to happen. Like before a worship service or even stay in the lobby during a worship service to pray while the service is going on that God would change the hearts of people in the worship time. Or going downtown and just walking around and praying for the people we see.
It's amazing how fast time flies when you are spending time praying with people. Yesterday's hour flew by so fast! I also love getting a quick text from someone in the prayer group with a prayer request for them or for someone they know who needs prayers right then.
I really can't wait to see how God plans to use our youth group to help reach out to others. He is really changing our hearts.
This is from a song called Lead Me by Sanctus Real
"So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?
To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up
I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone
Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone"
If you have any thing that you would like us to pray for please let me know. We would love to pray for you!