Monday, June 28, 2010

Ministry at Barberry While Raising Children

This week Dan Johnson is sharing his unique perspective as a member of the ministry team here at Barberry Village while also being the father of a young family:

"I grew up in the suburbs and became accustomed to an isolated life with almost no contact with my neighbors growing up. I am now married and have a 2 year old son, and a newborn baby girl. We live in a poor part of town with crime rates that make most people from the suburbs a bit uncomfortable. For God so loved the world that he sent his only son... to a world that rejected him.

My wife and I are are constantly reminded of the dangers surrounding our children. We also know that the work of the Kingdom of God is far above our preferences. We are thankful that we have a team of believers here working together for the Kingdom. This team makes up our extended family, and our son knows each of these members by name and loves them.

Our son (and daughter) are growing up in an area with poor schools, high crime neighborhoods, and no enclosed backyard to play in. We are careful to exercise caution to keep our children safe from sexual predators, bullies, and more. However, our children will have the advantage of seeing parents that are reaching out to the poor, widows, and the orphans outside of their home. To us it is no surprise that the happiest of children are among the poor."

- Daniel, Jennifer, James, & baby Hannah Johnson

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Lesson in Community

This week Kurt, a fellow laborer in the Kingdom, shared some reflections on how he had been impacted through involvement at Barberry Village. He helps lead a small group at Clear Creek Community Church, which is one of the handful of churches in the area that has been seeking to embrace our apartment complex with loving arms.

I'll let him tell you the rest:

"I have had the privilege of serving along side the team at Barberry Village for a couple of years now and the impact to my soul has been huge. Until just a couple of years ago, when I first heard of the "mission to the village", I had never given much thought to the community beyond the Compassion Rockwood event held annually at PLS and that was just one day a year. The only thoughts if any that would come to my mind, was “it’s not my backyard” or “this” is a rough community. I would continue to drive through the area, sometimes daily, without much thought about the individual lives that reside there. My world was 4 miles away in a “different” community.

My first opportunity to visit Barberry came at a community meal that my small group offered to provide and serve. I had apprehensions about what to expect while there. To my soul’s relief (first to discover that my fears were silly), I met wonderful people who really just wanted to reach out and find other souls to relate to. To me, that’s what serving at Barberry is, reaching out to meet other’s where they are. Since that first meal, I have really enjoyed the sense that showing up at the community is about meeting other people, getting to know them and finding out that they are my neighbors in this world we’re all trying to survive in. Many of us are experiencing the same hurts, frustrations and challenges in life, some of us just have a prettier picture to hang on the wall for others to see.

Since serving at Barberry, my “community” has grown. I recognize that I need to reach out to neighbors closer to home, I need to be open to meeting new people and reaching out to souls wherever I am and not to “drive” through life with such a narrow focus on myself. Barberry has taught me to open my eyes to those that Jesus died to save. ALL! I with to thank the team at Barberry Village and those in the community that taught me what God’s community is all about! People loving people no matter where they are."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prayer for a Barberrian Summer

A passionate women from one of the local churches has committed to investing in youth outreach weekly throughout the summer. We are all excited by the energy, creative, and dedication that she brings to bless the Barberry Village community. We'll be posting more about this, including stories and pictures, but for now I wanted to share her prayer for the summer

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Father for my children I pray that you guide me every day. Every step of the way. I have no hidden agenda except that they see you face to face. That their little hearts will know this great love. Let your words come out of my mouth. Show me your love for them. Rest your spirit on me. Flow it consistently out of me. Let me see them through your eyes. Open up this place. Rest your spirit in their heart. Give me your heart. But only enough that I do not break apart. Show me your love for them. Teach me how to teach them. Give me your thoughts. Let my life reflect you so much that they find you in me. God this is my prayer, that I walk every single step WITH you. You hem me in, behind and before. Go before me Lord. Let your love, your spirit, break their chains, break the bondages. Break them Lord. Bring your little ones to me. Call them by name. For you are Great. Mighty is the Lord. There is no one like you God. How precious to me are your thoughts Oh God, how vast is the sum of them. If I were to count them they would outnumber the grains of the sands.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” “I tell you, do not worry about your life…Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?…See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field.. will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry…(about the details) for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
And he sent them out in two’s. “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” “And even the hairs of your head are all numbered…So do not be afraid” “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them.. “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone cause one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and drowned in the depths of the sea.” “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my father in heaven.” “For where two or more come together in my name, there I am with them.” “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer.” “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind.”
“If I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire. A fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in. Indeed I cannot.”
I cannot.
Ephesians 6

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms..” Father continue revealing to us how you want us to pray for Barberry. Teach us how to pray against the spiritual forces of evil. God make light what is hidden and give me perfect wisdom. Protect my team, protect my kids, protect the Barberry team. Give us a warrior’s heart. Break the chains! Destroy the lies! “..Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” Give me your truth God. Show me your truths. When I read your word open it to me so that it pierces my mind and heart. Show me what you long to reveal. Show me your ways Oh Lord, teach me your decrees. Give me understanding according to your word. Direct my footsteps. Let no sin rule over me. You are the one I seek. Expose the lies I’m not even aware I’m believing. “..with the breastplate of righteousness in place..” Help me live a life of purity. Purity of my hands, purity of my thoughts. Give me strength and steadfast persistence to live a life of righteousness, of purity. Careful little mouth what you say. “..and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace..” I choose to live for the gospel at any given moment. Yes Lord, speak to me and I will listen. Where you go..I will go, what you say..I will say, what you do..I will do. “..In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one…” I hold out my faith as a shield against the lies, the condemnation, the guilt, of the enemy. I hold out my faith against any lie that you are not good. Oh Lord I know that you are good. “Take the helmet of salvation..” Thank you for the cross. Thank you that I no longer have to live under the old covenant. Thank you for what has been given because of your life and death. Thank you Father. Thank you. God, how do I reveal this to your little ones? How Father? How do I show them…you? Open up their hearts Father. Let your spirit wash over them. Come to them as they dream, as they wake, and drift asleep. You are the only one that can truly speak to their hearts. God I ask that they will understand you in ways I have never known. “..and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God..” Father your words are a sword. Engrave them on my mind and heart that I may use them daily to destroy the enemy and encourage your people. “..And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Father do not let me teach any word that is not of you. If I am not sure of a teaching or not sure that I accurately understand your word, I ask Father that you will point this out to me and that I will not teach it. Give me wisdom Father. Discernment. Whether I turn to the right or the left let me hear your voice behind me saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.“ A student is not above his teacher and a servant is not above his master. You are my teacher and I am your servant. Let me only go where you lead. Let me only teach what you have already taught.
Then with your truth, with your words, with your leading, with your spirit, with your love, make me/us BOLD and COURAGEOUS, stouthearted and persistent.
God all of us working at Barberry need to bathe ourselves in prayer. Put your spirit on us. Give us WISDOM. Protect us. Let your Holy Spirit FLOW out of us. I ask that multitudes will come to know you because of us. Cause this summer to be what it was always meant to be. What do you want out of this summer Father? God I ask that this summer will be the boiling over point of all the prayers that have been offered up in this place. That is what I ask Father! God, how big do you want us to pray? Pray for the impossible. Nothing is impossible for him who believes. I pray that every single person who wants you, longs for you, searches for you…finds you. Holy Spirit, this summer,
FALL on this place…