This is the abbreviated, 4:45am version of the update (headed to work)...
Living downtown has been the single most fruitful step we've taken so far. Being close to the people God is calling us to join in kingdom community and reach out to in his loving ministry of reconciliation has changed everything. We take several prayer walks a week, all of which yield awesome conversations and opportunities for relational next steps that, we pray, will soon lead to spiritual interactions and "Yes!" responses to Christ.
4 weeks ago, the Spirit told us to plug into Neighborhood Ministries; so, despite our institutional wariness, we are diving into that community every Sunday and several relational and service moments in-between. We're excited to see where that leads. It appears that some significant portion of the kingdom community God is calling us to are from the relationships he is developing for and with us there. We'll be gathering with Billy Thrall, one of the staff members there, soon to talk about where we might begin plugging in and serving more there. Aleta and I are full of prayer on that one... especially for me. She's already serving in the food pantry; but I've not found a place yet - nor am I sure if a place exists in their structure. We're trusting God for that one.
Zack and Kelli Newsome, who live across the street, have found a partner in a brother and friend who is moving down here in the very near future. He'll also be partnering with Neighborhood Ministries once here; so we look forward to more overlap there.
Monday night prayer gatherings are awesome. We meet every other week at our place and opposite weeks at Dave and Pam's place in the North Valley. Meghan, Dave, Pam, Aleta, and I gather to pour it all out to each other and the Lord in wonderfully life-giving ways. Additionally, Gwen will most likely be joining us as we partner with her to pray for God's complete healing of her in the months to come. Also, another friend, Lorri, will be with us tonight.
We've connected with Rocky and Meredith, two awesome people we've befriended and look forward to going much deeper with. I'll be inviting them to tonight, too. They're both fresh back in town from a five month Alaskan endeavor and both need jobs (and a place to live). We're praying diligently over them as well.
Please continue to pray for the relationships God wants to connect us to, that kingdom community continues to form and that the lost would find Christ! Also, please pray against the Enemy as he continues to work to discourage and distract us from our daily focus on and surrender to Christ. And as usual, the evolving dream of a central community space made up of cafe, apartments, art gallery, and studio space continues to swell in my heart and mind. Please pray for the Lord to do whatever he desires in relation to that. It's a major passion in my heart.
In all things, may God have the victory in, to, and through us.
In Christ's love, John.