Prophet, Priest, and King The High Calling of Christian Husbands By Greg Morse As our cultural moment seems to spiral into greater disorder, men of God do well to ensure that they attend to their own households. With so much happening beyond our walls, the temptation can be to neglect what happens within them. We can fail to realize that our homes are precisely where many ungodly arrows are aimed. The attempts to redefine marriage, maleness and femaleness, and what constitutes a “modern” family are swings of the ax at the same trunk. The Christian household, in glad submission to God’s design, has been secularism’s target all along. Our churches will be strengthened, and the trajectory of culture helped, when more of us resolve with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). While new and noisy paths are l how to get Googleaid in Sodom, we should heed the prophetic voice: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16). Progress, for us, will look like a return to an ancient path: the path of rebuilding a spirit of worship in our homes, of reclaiming and defending the Christian household. And godly men will lead the way. As for My House Men, no one influences the spiritual climate of our homes like we do. If we are lukewarm and careless, we send a spiritual draft throughout the household. If we burn as a furnace for the Lord, even the most antagonistic child within our walls will not but feel the warming influence. “Our great aim is to lead our families in a way worthy of God. Why else are they put under our care?” Our great aim is to lead our families in a way worthy of God. Why else are they put under our care? To help us think through how to do this, I believe it helpful to borrow from the classic categories applied to Christ: prophet, priest, and king. We are prophets who speak the word over our households; priests who give ourselves to intercessory prayer, speaking to God on behalf of our loved ones; and kings who govern, defend, and provide for them. PROPHET As prophets in our homes, we have the great privilege to speak the words of God to our family. We are spiritual shepherds. Too few today know the joys of hearing a father earnestly, joyfully, humbly giving voice to the words of God in Scripture. But what many of us did not experience as sons, we can give as fathers, God helping us. We speak to exhort, encourage, and charge our children to a life worthy of God. Paul recognizes this when he says, “Like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:11– 12). We not only exhort, but encourage. Not only encourage, but exhort. This extends to our most beloved companion as well, as God charges us to love her like Christ did his church, washing her with the word (Ephesians 5:25–27). PRIEST As priests in our homes, we get to intercede for our family before God. In a heart-stirring account, John G. Paton, the great missionary among cannibals, recalled his upbringing: How much my father’s prayers at this time impressed me I can never explain, nor could any stranger understand. When, on his knees and all of us kneeling around him in Family Worship, he poured out his whole soul with tears for the conversion of the Heathen world to the service of Jesus, and for every personal and domestic need, we all felt as if in the presence of the living Savior, and learned to know and love him as our Divine friend. (21) Kneeling together, pouring out our souls in supplication for our family, our churches, our nation, and the lost world — this is a mighty inheritance to leave our children. Whether before them or in the secret place, we get the high privilege to labor in prayer to God on their behalf. KING God has firmly written into the nature of every man to lead, provide for, and defend those in his charge. As societies descend into ungodliness, this category of the three is the last to depart. It is a groveling existence for any man — Christian or non-Christian — to abdicate his kingly duties; indeed, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Though under attack from all sides, the man, as head, makes decisions for his family (both popular and unpopular). Because he loves those affected by his choices, he considers their perspective before steering to the left or to the right. He does not micromanage, but he does actually drive from the driver’s seat. He leads his children and his queen as he follows Christ, his head (1 Corinthians 11:3). Mature masculinity governs its household well (1 Timothy 3:4). He also leads in ways many kings of the world, untutored in the lordship of Christ, wouldn’t dare. He doesn’t just take up the privileges of authority, but its responsibilities, bending low to carry physical, emotional, and spiritual burdens for the family, and doing so with joy. His sacrifice extends, if it is necessary, even to a cross in the imitation of his Savior. And he leads his family in other unflattering tasks such as confession and repentance. His glorious crown is one of thorns. Three Men in One Considering these categories, I find it all too easy to play to my strengths and avoid the discomfort of being seen as weak in the other areas. Isn’t being a prophet of the home sufficient? I have found that those around me are affected when I am weak in any of these three callings. None can be safely neglected. Consider, then, what we need to hear if we simply content ourselves to operate in one office to the neglect of the other two. Word to Prophets What happens when we speak God’s word to our families as prophets, but do not take up the mantle of king or priest? We might seem faithful in teaching the word. The atmosphere in our homes will be filled with godly content. We will remind them of the immortality of their souls, the great danger of sin, the need for Christ’s righteousness and regeneration, the bliss of union with our Lord, and the joys of a coming world with him in glory. But the great danger for us, if we teach much but pray and govern little, is to lose spiritual power and respect in the home. First, we will lie in danger of becoming a teacher lacking unction. Our words will lack the heavenly taste, the gravitas, the indescribable influence required to make your teaching most profitable. Teaching good theology while praying little is akin to a heavy bird flapping with small wings. The word of God will not return void, yet do not forget, “The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:20). Second, we will risk not being taken seriously in the home. If we do not make decisions to govern well on behalf of the family, how can we really oversee souls? “If someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4– 5). For the bookish among us, what if we learned how to do things around the house, how to be more decisive? What if we worked to attain competencies beyond our study? If we spend more time on our knees and more time engaged in the concerns of daily life, might our excellent words be better received? Word to Priests What happens when we pray much, but fail to lead and instruct? It cannot be denied: if we pray, we do well. But if we seek only to bless them with secret words in our closets or with hurried prayers before meals, will we not soon find our prayers becoming shallower and our exhortations weaker (if we attempt them at all)? Would you be a man “praying at all times in the Spirit,” yet stripped of the Spirit’s sword (Ephesians 6:17–18)? We will not be content to merely exhale our family’s concerns to God, but also inhale God’s word and speak it to them. “Whether before our families or in the secret place, we get the high privilege to labor in prayer to God on their behalf. And if we neglect governing, perhaps we will fail to see how we can be the extension of God’s arm in our family beyond prayer. Their concerns are our prayerful and practical concerns. We do not send them off to be warmed and filled elsewhere, but we pray and then turn to do what we can for them. We take our wife on dates, throw the football around with our son, listen to our daughter’s anxieties and dreams. We endeavor to bless their minds and bodies along with their souls — inside our closets and out. Word to Kings What happens when we serve as king, but not as prophet or priest? We may govern an orderly home. We may labor admirably for our family and pride ourselves in our self-discipline. But ours will be a spiritually impoverished household. For all our earthly forethought and provision, we will have left those under our care exposed to unseen foes — the most dangerous enemies — and failed to fill their plates with what Jesus calls “the good portion” (Luke 10:42). And if we are not given to prayer and God’s word, our self-resolve will grow thin, our strength will fail, for “even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted” (Isaiah 40:30). We will not know what it is to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31) because we won’t wait on the Lord, nor cry out like that king of old, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). But add to our kingliness the speaking of God’s word over our family and prayerful intercession for them, and we will rain down blessing upon their heads and fortify them against the evil one. We will grow in stature in their eyes and be kings worthy of the name. Of Prophets, Priests, and Kings Acting as prophet, priest, and king in our homes is a simple way to consider what it means to be a Christlike head of the household. We imitate (not replace) Christ, who is our mediating Prophet after Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15), our Great High Priest who intercedes for us (Hebrews 4:14–16), and our Anointed King of Psalm 2, to whom all must bow and kiss his ring. Lastly, then, I commend family worship as a great place to exercise the two most neglected offices of our day: priest and prophet. One simple structure for family worship is to pray (priestly), read Scripture and share a thought from what you read (prophet), and pray again. Consider also singing a song of praise together. This could take ten minutes, or you could linger longer. Consistency is key. As unbelievers go from bad to worse, both society and the church are in need of God-fearing, Christ-loving, and Spirit-filled households. And men, it has been given to us to be Christlike leaders — in the word, on our knees, and over our homes — as we care for the immortal souls entrusted to our headship. Reprinteed with permission from Desiring God. The Living of God’s Word By Sharon Stuart-reidenbach Interrupting scripture is tricky. Some concepts we understand. But others make us ask, “How can this apply to the circumstances I’m facing?” For example Ephesians 5:15-21 teaches us to walk wisely, avoid undesirable influences, make the most of our time, discern the will of God, be filled with the spirit, give thanks in all things, and submit to one another in the fear of God. It’s that last part that sends shivers up our spine—submitting. We fear of someone else controlling us. But the Bible defines submission as a military term— willingly to arrange oneself under another—not “unthinking” obedience. We make plans and choices and think what we are doing is right. Sometimes, however, these innocent plans sideswipe us and we’re laid back on our heels wondering, “What happened?” Through the movie, The Horse Whisper, I will illustrate how God’s word applies outside of the Christian academia-where most of us live. In the movie a young girl and her friend plan an early morning horse ride. It’s a beautiful, frosty day. All goes well until they make an unwise choice to go up a steep, icy bank, resulting in a tragic accident. The horse is mutilated beyond recognition. The star of the show loses her friend and her leg, and is also mutilated mentally. Her mother won’t put the horse down. When the horse can travel, she takes these two broken, untrusting creatures, out west to a man with a mysterious talent – talking to horses. The mysterious man, Robert Redford, watches and observes them. He knows there isn’t much time before they both go under. Does he realize he’ll follow the instructions in Ephesians 5? I don’t think so. But gradually Redford’s unique gift works wonders with the girl’s heart and the horse’s spirit. With us too, the Lord places people in our path to help transform us. Here, Redford is the one the Lord used. He creates an atmosphere of hope that there is still a life to live. The girl and the horse take the first step—they chose to listen. The second step is trusting this unusual man. Their final hurdle is submitting—willing to place them self under his authority for wellness. Did Redford consciously say, “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God (Hebrews 10: 9)?” No, but God used him for His purpose: to bring life back to two of His dying creations. Let’s walk through Ephesians 5: the girls made unwise choices; the mother listened to her heart instead of to destructive influences; Redford understood time was a premium; He didn’t shy away from using the filling of his gift; and finally, the horse and girl voluntarily submit, and finally the praise of healing. Is this a stretch? Perhaps. But it’s real. Be encouraged. As we place ourselves under God’s protection, He rewards our submitting with His outpouring love that meets us in our common, daily lives. Seeing With Eyes of Faith By Sandra Moats Sight is a precious gift from God, but there is a gift of sight that goes beyond the natural seeing eye. This gift ventures into the spiritual realm of God where you can see with the eyes of faith. Those bound in the natural seeing realm cannot enter the avenue of faith. Man’s way is to see and believe, God’s way is to believe and see; God’s ways are higher than ours. (Isa 55:9) Those who see with the eyes of faith have been released from the anchor of unbelief, just as a boat is set free to sail when the anchor is raised. What is faith? It is a gift that is intangible in the five senses of sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing, but in the spiritual realm, faith is like a solid brick in the construction of the life of a believer. Faith according to Webster’s means, “confidence; belief; trust; reliance”. According to the Bible, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) There are varities and degrees of faith. (Rom. 1:17; Rom. 12:6) There is saving faith that brings you to salvation through Jesus Christ. (Eph. 2:8) There is everyday faith to walk through life and go to your heavenly home. (Hab. 2:4; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 10:38) There is miraculous faith in Christ that leads you to walk through the impossible into triumph. (Luke 17:6; Heb. 11:7) Confirmation deepens your faith. Before stepping out you must be certain that God has truly spoken a word of His leading. There must be confirmation. (De. 19:15; Mt. 18:16; 2Co. 13:1) Before traveling to China, God confirmed through His Word, my husband, and the elders in our church that the journey was of His leading. With each confirmation, God deposited a deeper gift of faith within, that the mission would be completed successfully. When God gives direction and confirms, you are responsible to step out with your face set like flint to obey. (Isa 50:7) My mission in China was to locate and adopt a girl in an orphanage. This was not just any orphan girl, but a specific girl that God showed me in a daytime vision. I saw her face, and then He gave me information about her age and location. He spoke into my spirit loudly, “Go get her!” When I heard those words within my spirit, I laughed. I didn’t even know where China was! Through many miracles and numerous trips to China over the next four and a half years, our daughter Faith and I came together, and my husband and I were able to adopt her. During those years I learned how to walk with the eyes of faith. Christian friends and three of our four grown children thought I had lost my mind. One of my closest friends asked my forgiveness just before we left for China to bring Faith home. She said, “I thought this was just something of your own doing.” She didn’t have the gift of faith because God had given that gift to me. It was my responsibility to walk without wavering. Faith involves an act of your will to step out through the pathways of doubt. Faith is a Kingdom principle requiring action to release God’s power, whether it be by knocking or receiving. (Mt. 7:7; Jas. 2:17-18) By faith I knocked on the door of China in search of our daughter and found her, by faith we received our son Christian after a call came to us. In both cases it was faith in action. Faith defies rationality based on reason or evidence, but thrives on revelation and inspiration. Many have told us that we are crazy to be adopting children at our ages but the evidence is in that this is a God thing. Living faith actively and progressively enables the believer to complete his goal or calling. In faith, though always without the finances, we proceeded with every adoption, learning that the smallest measure of faith can release miracles. (Luke 17:6) Faith peers into heaven and sees it done on earth, though it has yet to happen. It calls those things that are not visual as though they were. Faith is God’s vehicle by which heaven’s plans become earth’s reality. Faith is the core of obedience to the divine will of God. (2 Th. 1:11) Two years ago, after adopting four Chinese daughters, we thought our family was complete, but God spoke into my heart that He had two Chinese sons for us. We all prayed and within one year two sons joined our family. Faith gives us the ability to see through the eyes of God. It developes within a separation from unbelief and brings confident trust in God. Faith never lets go, knowing that with God all things are possible. (Mt. 19:26; Mr. 9:23) We have one more daughter left in China. We have tried to bring her home to our family for over four years. China adoption laws changed, and it is now impossible with man, but with God it will happen. A believer may walk in a gift of faith in one area yet struggle in another. It is no problem for me to have faith that God will provide finances to pay for an adoption, yet I struggle over having enough to pay for my continuing education working through my doctorate. Faith is joined hand in hand with God’s power. (Acts 6:8; 2Th. 1:11) Laced throughout the Old Testament we read about saints who walked with the eyes of faith. Noah built the ark by faith according to God’s instructions, and it saved his whole family. (Heb. 11:7) Abraham was called out by God, he obeyed and settled in the promised land. (Gen. 12:1; Heb. 11:8,9) By faith Sarah bore Issac, the child of promise, when she was 90 years old and Abraham was 100. (Heb. 11:11) In our first church, a young woman gave her life to Jesus. She and her husband had been in a tragic car accident that left her badly disfigured, and she not able to carry a baby. On New Year’s Eve one year we were invited to their home. Before we left to visit, the Lord spoke into my spirit a word of promise for the young woman that she would bear a child. I wrote out the promise and gave it to her. She took hold of that promise in faith. Months later she became pregnant. The doctor told her to go home and expect to abort the baby as she had done many times before. Several months later she called the doctor and asked if he would like to see her as she had not aborted. He was amazed and told her to come right in. In her time, by faith, she birthed a beautiful baby girl. By faith Moses was birthed and hidden by his parents. Not only was he spared, but he was raised by Pharoah’s daughter to later become the deliverer of Israel. (Heb. 11:23) By faith the Israelites heard and obeyed in marching around Jericho seven times. Miraculously the walls fell down and they were victorious. (Heb. 11:30) In the Bible we are instructed to walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7) With our natural eyes we see earthly things, but with our spiritual eyes we see heavenly things. Faith is immoveable when secured in the believer’s heart in the place where God intends it to grow. Some years ago, a Christian brother who suffered from asthma and a serious back problem, knew by faith that God called him to compete in the Western States Race. He faithfully trained for almost a year, and set his eyes toward to the goal of completing the 100- mile race in less than the twenty-four hours allotted to buckle. I will never forget pacing him on the last part of the race. It was the wee hours of the morning as we neared the finish at the high school in Auburn, California. He almost shut down in the last mile, but then he caught sight of the lights in the stadium he entered the arena leaping and yelling like a man going to war. As he reached the finish line he made one last leap before collapsing. By faith Duane finished the race in a little over eighteen hours and buckled. Faith does not waver in the face of opposition or comments, but walks past with eyes set on the goal in Jesus. By faith you know that somehow, someway, someday, what God has revealed will happen. Talking to one man in an adoption agency about our daughter Faith before she was found, I said, “I know this will happen, I don’t know how or when, but I know it will.” He said, “Sandra, let me pray about this and get back to you. The next week he called and said, “I believe that God is in this, lets keep praying.” His agency was instrumental later in helping us bring Faith home. A gift of faith is the outcome of the believer’s union with Jesus Christ, knowing that apart from Him we can do nothing. You cannot manufacture faith because it comes to you as a gift from God. (Eph 2:8) When the gift of faith comes, it is up to you to step out. The Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.” When we step out in faith, as God leads, our faith is perfected. (James 2:17,18,22) May God have His perfect way in you I am Jesus’ Beloved by Samuel Hughes “Woman, behold your son!” Then He [Jesus] said to the disciple [John], “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. ~ John 19:26-27 (NKJV) As Jesus hung on the cross, dying for my sins and yours too, His heart and hands were still extended to help those He loved. In the first part of John 19:26, it says that Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing by. The disciple Jesus loved was His disciple, John. On Good Friday 2021, I was blessed to play the part of John, that beloved disciple in a drama portrayal of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion at Spokane Dream Center. In that moment when Jesus spoke from the cross, “Woman, behold your son!” and to me, “Behold your mother!” something changed inside of me. As John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, I now had a mother in my life and I was trusted as a son to take care of her. Me, Samuel Hughes, a man who had come to Jesus in filthy rags, living on the streets, choosing the world and its vices rather than answering Jesus’ call to have a relationship with Him that would bring abundant life, portrayed Jesus’ beloved disciple, John. It was Jesus’ love that restored me. Jesus welcomed me back with open arms and with one word offered healing to my broken and shattered life, “Forgiven.” That’s how Jesus sees us. He paid the price for our sins on the cross; our debt has been paid in full. After being homeless for three years, living on the streets of Spokane addicted to drugs and alcohol, I checked myself into ABHS, a rehab program. But the truth was that I just told them what they wanted to hear, and left after 63 days, no different than when I arrived. Two weeks later, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired… and high. As I went to the hospital, I cried out in my soul for God to put people in my path to help me. I believed in God, I just wasn’t following Him. At the Stabilization Center, I met a member of Spokane Dream Center who told me about their Men’s Discipleship program, a one-year life recovery program to help me get back on track with God. Even after entering the program, I still struggled. In fact, at one point I walked away, but then came back because of God’s love for me. Zechariah 2:13 says, “Be still before the Lord.” It reminded me of the story in Mark 4, when Jesus is asleep in the boat and a storm arrives, and the disciples wake Jesus up, trembling in fear. In Mark 4:39 it says, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Jesus calmed the storm in my life too. He spoke peace to my heart. I had a heart of stone and Jesus was offering me a new heart – a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) Like Joshua in Zechariah 3, I was the burning stick that was pulled out of the fire. In verses 3-4, even as the angel commanded Joshua’s filthy clothes to be removed and his sins taken away and he was clothed in new fine clothes, God did the same for me. As I entered the Men’s Discipleship program, my filthy clothes from living on the streets were taken away and with hands of love, new fine clothes, symbolizing the new life God had for me were freely given. Today I am a staff member at the Men’s Discipleship. I continue to learn more about living the Christian life and what a more intimate relationship with Jesus means. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. It’s about the greatest gift of all – a new life in Christ. Just as John and Peter ran to the tomb at the news Mary brought them that Jesus was no longer dead, but alive, so too I run to the feet of Jesus, and thank Him for the new life He has given me. If you’re tired of making bad choices, choosing religion over a relationship with Jesus, He is waiting for you to say “yes” to Him. “Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) My heart is filled with joy as I see others enter the Discipleship program and experience new life in Christ, just like I did. If you want more information about this new hope that I’ve found in Christ, contact Spokane Dream Center, and the pastors would love to answer your questions. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36) A Split Second From Eternity By Jane Aldrich A Split Second From Eternity Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you, Each man’s life is but a breath. Psalm 39:4-5 Have you ever been so close to going in to eternity that you held your breath....and was afraid it would be your last? And....the things that go through your mind is not, “what a terrible place this world is becoming” or, “what is in my bank account, will I be able to pay this or that bill?” Or, “I’ve really messed up that relationship, how will I ever fix it?” No - because there is no’s running out - this could be it - forever! The only thing that came to mind was, “Dear God!” That’s it - a simple prayer - but one that worked! I had just met Dave, my husband, for dinner before his meeting at the church and was on my way home. I stopped by the store briefly to pick up a few things, then, as usual, headed on home to do a few chores to prepare for the next day and await Dave. I saw the light was green but as I entered the intersection at Flora and Sprague Avenue, it changed to yellow, when suddenly a car came out of nowhere, obviously running a red light and was right in front of me! I hit the brakes, practically standing on them as I called out “Dear God....” when the car zoomed past within four or five feet of me! I sat in shock for a moment realizing I had almost t-boned that car! Everyone at the lights waited for me to clear the intersection, so I did and headed home! Everything along the way looked the same; same road, same driveway, same house. Yet, something had changed. For some reason I didn’t mention it to Dave when he got home, I guess I didn’t want to worry him, and he had other things on his mind, so we sat and chatted about the things of the day. But, the next morning when I had coffee and sat down to read my devotions, it finally dawned on me how close I had come to not being here this morning to have coffee, to chat with Dave about our day, to pray for the children and to go about our day doing what we do. The normal and sometimes mundane things, preparing breakfast, throwing in laundry before heading out to work, and planning other events for the week. I had almost missed this! I would also have missed our trip to Oregon in a couple of weeks to visit our daughter and family; our vacation to Indiana this summer to see our son and his family, to celebrate with our grandson, Ben, as he graduates from high school, or grandson Caleb play football; to cheer for grandsons Logan and Levi at soccer games. We were looking forward to seeing our newly married grandson, David, and getting to know our sweet granddaughter-in-law better. So much, so much I’d miss! The thought of not seeing our children and grandchildren’s faces, enjoying our times together and making memories that carry us from one time to the next, getting together with friends, praying with others at church, enjoying those special times in the morning with the Lord - just being there! What if.......what if God had not intervened in that split second - I hardly had time to see the other car traveling so fast - at least 50-60 mph - and if I had been in the intersection a nano-second earlier....I would have been the one t- boned and probably thrown into eternity! But God..... He had heard my prayer...small as it was.....and answered! Why did He do it, I wondered? To give me longer life, naturally, but what shall I do with this precious time He has given? I thought about it and wondered have I told those closest to me, my family, close friends, my church family, my pastors, just how much I love and appreciate them. How much they have contributed to my life and blessed me by being a part of my life. Why do we wait to do this? Why not tell them today? I also realized this was a golden opportunity - a not-to-be-wasted opportunity - to tell others about Him and His wonderful love and grace; to tell them that although their decision to accept Jesus into their life might only take a split second - it would be the most important second of their life and change their whole eternity. I know that I want to spend this gift of time He has given me wisely, not wasting a moment; to love Him more fully, spending quality time deepening my relationship with Him and with those that I love so dearly! What a precious gift! Obedience Brings Life By Barbara Hollace “I am wonderfully, marvelously fantastic. Thanks for asking.” That is how Pastor Vince Martin greets those who ask how he is doing. The light of God’s love that graces his face is testimony that this is the truth, Jesus lives in him. Today Vince is the Program Director at Spokane Dream Center’s Men’s Discipleship program, a place where men with broken hearts and shattered lives have an opportunity to find their God- given destiny and start over again. But that wasn’t always the case. Vince was born and raised in St. Maries, Idaho. After making some not-so-wise choices involving drugs and alcohol, that lasted from his teenage years into his mid-thirties, he lost it all. There were consequences to his actions that resulted in health issues and even some jail time. But that is not the end of the story, that’s where the real story begins. When he was 35 years old, Vince recommitted his life to the Lord and asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. And Jesus embraced him as a new man in Christ and the road to restoration began. In early 2000, Vince was living with his mom right across the street from Foundation Ministries (now Spokane Dream Center). Vince began attending this church and on his second visit, Pastor Alice asked him to be part of the drama. In fact, he played the part of a Pharisee, which he has continued to do for 15 years. As I spoke with Vince, he told how the drama rehearsals helped teach him structure, how to be on time, follow directions, not to talk back and how to get along with others. Playing the part of a Pharisee and a conversation with his nephews drove home the point that he was never going to go out and defame the name of Jesus Christ again in the world because he didn’t want anyone looking at him and saying, why are you killing Jesus over and over again in your lifestyle? This year, Vince will portray Pontius Pilate in Dream Center’s drama, Behold Jesus at the INB Theatre on April 4. The drama was a key part of his growth as a new Christian but God had more in mind. God began rebuilding every area of his life. His children were brought back into his life to raise with godly principles. He got a job and over the years was blessed with promotions, a company vehicle, paid vacations, all blessings from the Lord. Vince also found a place of leadership in the church. In 2007, he was ordained and became an Associate Pastor. He has the privilege of teaching the adult Sunday School class and ministering to people during important times of their lives – weddings, memorial services and even water baptisms. The ability to touch the lives of so many people, including family members, brings a smile to his face as he gives all glory and honor to God. Then two and half years ago, God asked him to lay it all down, to trade his job with all its perks for a position in the ministry and become the Men’s Discipleship Program Director. God is so good. What better man to lead this program than someone who has walked in the darkness where so many of these men have lived, but now Vince knows what it means to walk in the light and be an example to others. “There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be. There’s no higher calling in life than to be a minister of the word of God. I know what God did in my life in giving my mom her son back. And then I get to talk to mothers and they get to have their sons back. God gets all the glory. God gets all the honor,” Vince said. The Key to Service As a pastor, Vince faces many challenges on a daily basis, what is the key to overcoming them? He was quick to tell me that his quiet time with the Lord early in the morning, every day, is the only thing that has sustained his heart. His favorite Bible verse is Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (NIV) His eyes light up when he speaks of his time with the Lord often before the sun rises. As the birds begin to sing, God’s morning symphony joins Vince in praising the Lord. “Don’t take the time with the Lord, make the time for Him. It is a no option deal. It’s life or death.” Vince reminds us that our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ but along with that we need to have accountability through a Christian friend/mentor with whom you can share your burdens, sins and struggles. Pastor Dave Darroch has been that friend/mentor for him. If you don’t have a Christian friend/mentor, pray that the Lord would help you find someone. Men’s Discipleship Program Vince’s vision for the future of the Discipleship Program is that as the disciples walk together in unity, with confidence and boldness, this community will reap the benefits through healing, restoration, miracles and deliverance. May this city once again be a City of Refuge, a place chosen by the Lord. Pastor Vince had these closing thoughts, “Obedience brings life. Being in the Word and letting the Word be in us, we’re open books for all the world to see.” God has called each of us to be salt and light to a hurting world. Drawings of Spring TIMOTHY LAMB I read that spring is optimism personified. If this is true, I would say faith is staring at winter fearless and hopeful. Faith has dark and cloudy days and flowerless landscapes but it feels the hope and the reward of perseverance. I have today, on the board behind my computer monitor, a picture titled ‘Spring Daffodils’. Green leaves on a blue background with one pink and one dark blue flower. It wouldn’t win any awards but today I would rather have this crayon drawing than any Rembrandt. It was a gift to me from two girls on my bus route and when I no longer have the picture I will still cherish the memory of receiving it. I have not had a beautiful spring day. It was a “one foot in front of the other” day. Small conflicts and minor disappointments and a chilly-breezy day left me less than inspired. The kind of day that would never be remembered except for this one little kindness. We are told we must come to God as a child; innocence of a child and faith of a child; trusting as a child. Today reminded me that sometimes God comes to us as a child. When we are at our worst God takes the form of innocence and vulnerability and hands you a flower picture and softens your heart. I watched a video about a police sketch artist who took a group of early/middle- aged people he had never seen and asked them to describe themselves while hidden from his view. He sketched them as they saw themselves. Each person in the group then met someone else in the group and was later asked to describe that person to the sketch artist as he made another drawing based on their description. Each person was permitted to see the two sketches of themselves. Many got tears in their eyes because the picture of how others saw them was much more beautiful than how they saw themselves. How do you see yourself? Do you look at yourself every day and keep putting yourself in this box of second rate goods? Do you slander the Creator declaring yourself flawed or simply generic humanity? Or do you avoid looking at your reflection because what you see in the mirror somehow diminishes what you are? Here is the question…Is it possible to walk closely with God and like the way you look? I think it is not only possible I think it is imperative. How can you say you trust and rely totally on God and look in the mirror and not like what you have been given? The scriptures say to love your neighbor as you love yourself. If you are critical of your own appearance you will most likely think critically of your neighbor’s appearance. In the video, the sketch most people got from their own description was far less happy and warm than the one that came from the description of others. I think when we look into the face of others, we see, not so much who they are but who they love. People who truly love their neighbor as themselves are a blessing to be around because they remind us we are lovable…God has truly made you lovable so walk closely with God and light up the place! My face in the mirror is not better nor worse than any other face in the mirror, but it’s mine and it smiles back at me. Sometimes my face is filled with springtime optimism and other times it is wintery and it is then it finds hope in the drawings of a child. Begin to Hope Again By Scott Hubbard “I’ve come to see that part of my calling here is simply to be a person of hope.” Our car bounced down a dirt road in a small Middle Eastern town, seven of us packed into a five-seat sedan. A dim moonlight lit the blues and oranges of ramshackle gates guarding small properties. The town sits on the northern edge of a “developing” country. But intermittent terrorist attacks and a limping economy make “disintegrating” seem like a more apt word at times. When locals meet a Western expat like the one driving our car, their surprise often breaks into a question. “Why are you here?” they ask. “This country will never be fixed.” Broken Hope This country will never be fixed. You don’t need to live in a broken country to know something of the same hopelessness — the desolating sense that some aspect of your life can never be fixed. For many of us, pervasive, day in and day out brokenness has turned our youthful boast that “nothing is impossible with God” into a weary “nothing is ever going to change.” You might not voice it out loud, but you’ve come to expect that God will not answer prayer, much less “rend the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 64:1), and that brokenness will dominate your life’s headlines until your obituary takes its place. It might be a broken country, where terrorists’ bombs explode every attempt at systemic development. Or a broken marriage, where mistrust has evicted tenderness from the home. Or a broken ministry, where the word seems to land only on the path with the birds. Or perhaps just a broken soul, where darkness has extinguished the last shreds of light. In the wreckage of that kind of brokenness, we feel entirely justified as we adopt a hopeless view of our life. We might even call our hopelessness realism. Despair Banished Scripture has its share of such “realists” — cynical characters who run life through the grid of despair. The Bible has its Sarahs who laugh at God’s promise (Genesis 18:12), its Elijahs who have eyes to see only God’s enemies (1 Kings 19:14), and its Thomases who resign themselves to death (John 11:16). But more properly, the people of God are a people of hope. They’re the sort who lock eyes with our world’s fundamental brokenness, size it up from head to toe, and still step into the ring. Abraham looks at his barren wife and “in hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations” (Romans 4:18). Ruth turns her eyes from a dead husband to a new country, and tells Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge” (Ruth 1:16). Habakkuk sees the Babylonian hordes coming to destroy his people, and still he sings, “I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18). Micah collapses under the weight of his own sin, and yet he boasts, “When I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8). Each one of these saints knew what it was to stand neck-deep in brokenness. They felt the tension between God’s promises and their seemingly hopeless circumstances. And yet they still chose to hope that God could give “life to the dead and [call] into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17). By faith, they banished despair as they grasped onto “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, they were people who saw reality as it really is. Heart of Reality Each of the stories shows us that, when we welcome hopelessness and cynicism in the name of “reality,” we are not being realistic enough. If you peel back the layers to get at the heart of reality, you won’t find a black hole of brokenness; you’ll find “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13). You’ll find the God who gives children to barren women (Genesis 21:1–2), the God who welcomes young widows (Ruth 2:20), the God who fills disillusioned prophets with joy (Habakkuk 3:18), the God who pleads the cause of his sinful people (Micah 7:9). And if you keep on looking, you’ll find the God who entered the very dungeon of hopelessness in Jesus Christ, and three days later shattered the door. This world is not a Shakespearean tragedy, where fate wields his merciless scythe and leaves the stage full of dead bodies at the curtain’s close. No, this world is more like a comedy — not because it’s so full of laughs, but because it’s headed for a happy ending: a marriage and enough food to go around for eternity. Christian hope, then, is not the kind that blindfolds itself to reality. It’s the kind that looks at a newly sealed tomb and says, “This story’s not over.” People of Hope Of course, the hope that sits at the heart of reality does not guarantee that all of the brokenness we feel will heal quickly — or even at all in this life. Your country might take decades to develop, or it might disintegrate further. Your marriage might take years to thaw, or the cold might settle in deeper. Your ministry might grow incrementally, or it might wither and die. Your soul might brighten by imperceptible degrees, or the darkness might linger until the end. But the hope at the heart of reality does guarantee something: change is not only possible, but surely coming. Jesus’s empty tomb stands as a solid, immovable witness that brokenness is beaten. With the God of hope running the world, the risen Christ at his right hand, and their mighty Spirit living inside you, no brokenness can stand forever. One day, our hope will reach its fulfillment in the coming of the Son and the dawning of eternity, and he will speak the final word that exiles brokenness from the earth. No more splintered countries, no more icy marriages, no more floundering ministries, no more depressed saints. And when we reach for that hope with the fingers of faith, we will live in today’s brokenness differently. We will straighten our backs, lift our chins, square our shoulders, and remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58) — even in this world’s most hopeless circumstances. Our default response to brokenness will not be “nothing is ever going to change,” but instead “nothing is impossible with God.” We may still be a sorrowful people — burdened, broken, and beaten up — but we will not be a cynical people. We are a people of hope. Spring By Elijah Raines Good News Northwest Spring is almost here. Spring is time for plowing up the ground and planting. In Genesis chapter 1 we read the story of creation. On the third day of creation God said, “let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” (Genesis 1:11) As we consider planting a garden, we know what harvest to expect from the seed that we sow. All plants have seeds; some plants we work hard to keep out of our garden. These are the weeds that will choke the plants you want, and if they are not dealt with can steal your harvest. Weeds spring up from the ground wherever they can. The good seeds we water and fertilize so they can grow and produce a harvest. See what it says in Proverbs 11:18 b “He who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.” Sowing righteousness and giving good to each other is more rewardingthan holding back the good that was meant to be given. We read in 2 Corinthians Chapter 9 verse 6, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously.” This statement is not limited to one area of our lives but can be applied to every area. Seeds,with patience and cultivation, produce a harvest of fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is recorded in Galatians chapter 5 verse 22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruits of the Spirit are the evidence of a life that is being changed. Fruit takes time to mature and grow, just like the plants. Keep those weeds in check and cultivate the Spirit of God in your life!