The best prayer ever prayed for us was what Jesus prayed in John 17. He prayed that we, who believe, would realize that just as Jesus was sent into the world, so we are sent. He sanctified himself so we could be sanctified through him. Because of that, we are like him in this world, able to represent his image in our own unique way. I sat in a room full of unique men and saw many unique gifts rise up after talking about this message. God gave us each a unique identity that is waiting to come out, to be honored. When we feel honored, we feel empowered and valued. Honor is lifting up what God sees as good and empowering people to be their best at it.
Judgment is the opposite of honor. Judgement creates walls. We can have judgements about God and judgements about people.
Once we feel our judgements are reinforced through our experiences, we fall into mindsets of belief that limit us. What we end up with is a view of God that limits our perspective and our ability to operate in the fullness of Christ. Our coordinators and staff at Project Warm are believing for miraculous clarity this year over old judgements and opinions that hold people in the “stuck” places of life, clarity for each man to see the unique creation of God that they are so they can let go of the old, and walk free into something new. We cannot truly know who we are apart from knowing our Creator.
Jesus prayed and declared, “I have given them the glory that you have given me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me…”
That means that that same intimacy Jesus has with the Father is available to us. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:16…
“for ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
Last night I saw some men who understood that they had value. They thought out of their identity in Christ, the mind of Christ. I saw others who held onto baggage that they felt familiar and safe with, afraid to let go and try a new way. The phrase “Practice what you preach” came to me before I arrived. I wrote it down and said, “This may apply to someone here.” The guy who held up his hand and said, “That’s me!” was definitely stuck, always talking about what he’s trying to do, but not stepping over the line of being what he talks about. The word was a line in the sand for him. A change was occurring, a realization, something different from what I saw happening last year in him. He realized he had responsibility himself to take a next step. One of the other guests encouraged him, and challenged him, that he doesn’t go forward alone. He can trust God.
This is our confidence, that when we are “in Christ” we are one with him in our mind and we can hear the Father speak to us through the relationship of the purifying blood of his son. What a tremendous freedom to know we can be led by God like this. He invites us all into the conversation, no matter where were are or what condition we are in when he finds us.
This week, I have been soaking on 1 John 4 and thinking about what confidence Jesus had in his relationship with His Father. He could stand before accusers who taunted him and waited to trap him in any word he would say. This is every day life for these guys. How did Jesus stay so calm? He said, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given to you by my Father.” He knew his Father would never leave him in any circumstance. They were as one.
Jesus, had friends but his confidence came from His tightest relationship, his Father. 1 John 4:17 says, “...We are like Jesus in the world.” This is the confidence we have. What a peaceful assurance I felt in that. This is the theme of identity that we want to share with the men this year.
I feel this year is a year of launching, a year of new mindsets and of understanding that we ARE new creations in Christ.
How important is a safe place to spend the night? We all need a place to rest where we feel safe. We are thankful for the city, Hope Ministries, giving partners like Memorial Hospital, churches and volunteers who come together to not just shelter, but to provide a place where time can be spent with those who need an ear to listen, prayer and direction.
The money that you and your churches have given has been received not just with thanks, but with a sense of great responsibility to us who regularly serve at Warm. For you to bless the calling God has given us all is humbling. It is a trust to receive that sort of investment and we have always strived to have integrity as we steward your gifts, even in our personal walks with Christ. Your investment reaches deeply in so many ways, into those who serve and then into those who receive. I pray that in this partial testimony of one evening, you can feel the joy and expectancy I feel as I write this. As we begin the season of Advent, of expecting, the King of Glory is coming into the hearts of men. May he receive his reward.
With much appreciation,
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