Saturday, November 23, 2013

Two Voices, One Decision

"...we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith."
2 Thess 1:11

Lord, may I have a walk worthy of your calling. Your grace has made the harvest fields ready - the hard work is done, and your messengers will not be hindered. Please help me to leave my fears behind and believe that you will fulfill every action prompted by my faith. My gifts are not my own. I commit them to you, that by your Spirit I may proclaim your works and unify the Bride in the measure of faith you desire, until you come. Amen.

I met Randy last Thursday morning, on a spontaneous visit to Recycled Books. He is not homeless. "I'm domestically challenged," he said, adding the huge pack was filled with dirty laundry.

 I was originally on my way to the Well House of Prayer (in the Fine Art Building on the square), to pray and plan in the wake of learning that my dad had pancreatic cancer. The doors were locked (this was before normal hours), so I asked, "God, what do you have for me right now." So began my journey once again into the chance environment, where God so often wants to meet us. When we cannot predict what happens (and risk comfort), choosing to step out in faith and expectation, we encounter the power of God (Matt 14:27-31).

I mean, how awesome would it be to wear a pack like Randy's one day?! In the Himalayan Mountains, spreading the gospel and documenting miracles. Local Christian newspapers in every major city in the nation! Houses of prayer across the globe hosting media schools, raising up story-tellers after His own heart, using media to spread the gospel! If I had a million dollars, everyone could check-out a Nikon D4. 

But that's not Thursday morning at Recycled Books. Small beginnings, not to be despised, are starting-off the way I expected: Humbly. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Unexpected, though, is how much He would bless me, on the posture of my heart. Little has been "completed" in the realm of this long-term vision. I haven't published any major projects; ministries have unfulfilled videos; I haven't written for any mainstream Christian newsrooms.

But he still blessed me. I had been praying about a bike for a long time. God's timing is so perfect, and I've realized, he loves drama. 

So there I was, outside Recycled for awhile, browsing books on architecture, waiting. (Waiting on the Lord...never an idle thing!) A former colleague and writer from the North Texas Daily passed by (the Spring '12 I was photo-editor). I don't think he noticed me, but a lot has changed since then. Suddenly, I'm having flash-backs of Friday "Slash" meetings (when we critiqued our issues at the end of the week), my harsh criticisms, pride and passion revealed. 

Friends poke fun at the end of a long week. The newspaper is such an important institution; I love it dearly. The Fourth Estate balances our government, bears witness to beauty and ugliness in everyday-life, and helps us make better decisions. But secular media can only go so far in the realm of the gospel and moves of the Spirit throughout the world. Indeed, that's not their mission. There is a hope, a storyline, which journalists are obligated to provide. Many of my mentors are believers, and their work glorifies God. But there are so many who remain disconnected from the storyline of our coming King, and people are in spiritual bondage. What we need now are resources that show the lost and even the Bride what God can do, and through our prayers - healing, justice, revelations, prophetic expression, revival.

I went inside a few minutes later, and the first thing I noticed is this guy carrying a huge pack on his back. I'm always on the hunt for levity, or moments of humor, even and especially in tense situations. Randy hadn't noticed me yet (it's always good to try and be a fly on the wall, for as long as you can), and I overheard him asking about a book on Meth to the store clerk: "Maybe it's in the Christian section." Meth? In the Christian section? I'm listening.

He didn't find the book, and headed for the exit. I caught him outside and promptly introduced myself as a Christian journalist.

Randy (last name withheld) was a drifter for years, and halfway through a nation-wide tour (he wanted to write a book), discovered his "drug of choice:" Methamphetamine. High one night, watching a sexual scene on television, a mocking voice began accusing him of wanting to rape her, and another started laughing at him. In the midst of those agonizing and loud tones, broke-in a still, small voice: "My son. I'm sorry but I had to do this to teach you. I love you."

Randy explained to me how, after that night, he stopped running from God. He cleaned up, moved to Texas, started staying at the Salvation Army and now works as a mover in Carrollton. He had been in Denton for one week, and decided to stay in the area after hearing the Christian-Rock station. He showed me a folder full of worship music he was learning to play on guitar. 

I took on his pack, and we grabbed some lunch at St. Andrews.

"I'm letting the Holy Spirit clean house," he said at the table. "No alcohol, no harmful chemicals."

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Matt 6:9-13 
A guy at our table offered to sell Randy a bike for $10. As I watched the bike while Randy got money from the ATM, I thought to myself, "Lord, you know I need a bike." We get to the house of prayer, and BAM there's a bike! Just kidding...

What really happened. After getting his bike, Randy and I were to WellHOP and a friend came inside to warn me that my car was being ticketed by the po-po (I was there over two hours). He saw my old temporary tag and threatened to tow my car "as soon as I back up." So I moved it. My friend told me to park at an apartment complex down the street, but I felt the nudge to go to Bullseye Bikeshop and park it there. My buddy who owns the shop also leads the house church I attend, Acts 2 Fellowship. Sure enough, I found him outside, and told him about the ticket. The moment I noticed the bike, he placed his hands on it, and I thought, "that's the one!" He made a deal to exchange it for a month's-worth of photo services (features, ads).

Actions prompted by faith. Every good purpose fulfilled, by his power!