Rhode Island – Integrity

Will you still love me in famine?

As when love began at the harvest.

Or would you gain the whole world

Son, I loved you at your darkest

What good is the whole world

When I promise no tomorrow

I only promise your tomorrows

Will never take you past my palm

~ Wake Dead Man Wake – As Cities Burn

 

Why am I on this trip? Why am I sacrificing nearly an entire year of my life to basically live out of a car, and never know what the next day will bring? Why do I pour myself out day after day for people who may not even appreciate what I have to give? Why…

Faith is a tricky thing. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” A lot of people may ask the question, “Why do you believe in something or someone that you cannot see?” And you know what I say?

Who says I can’t see it?

Ever since I was a middle school kid and had recently gotten saved, I always had voices from different circles of influence trying to get me to “come to my senses”. I’d encounter some crazy, supernatural miracles at a church service to be met with the response, “How do you know those people aren’t faking it?” As much as I wanted to believe, I was still left with doubt.

But what do you do with doubt? You find answers! You seek truth. And God even says in Jeremiah 29:13,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

You see the most important line there? “With ALL your heart”. It’s not just about giving a little portion of your being. He wants ALL of our heart. THEN we find Him.

My first encounter with God was after I had given my heart over to Jesus as an 8th grader and He totally transformed my life. I went from a constant negative/depressed kid to being full of life. But I was still only giving pieces of myself to Him. So my old thought patterns crept back in and I found myself in the darkness of my depression once again.

Alone. Isolated. Not knowing who I could talk to about anything I was dealing with: I decided there was no point to keep moving forward. “Why do I try? Why should I live? God, where did you go? God why do I feel this way?” These are the questions I cried out to God one night as a 15-year-old kid, which led to the most vivid/tangible encounter I’ve ever had with Jesus.

I fell to the floor after praying one final time for God to show me He was real. And there He was, holding me on the kitchen floor. I could literally FEEL someone behind me holding me and my tears turned to joy. All I felt was peace. That was the moment I realized: there’s no going back.

From that point, I was all in.

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I want to transition to a story from our time in Rhode Island. Up until our 17th state, we had taken over 200 risks for the Kingdom. In all those moments, NOT ONE person was resistant to what we had to say or do…until Rhode Island.

We prayed in a park for God to show us where to go, who to talk to, what they looked like, what their prayer need was, etc. Immediately I began writing down all these details and had enough to form my little “treasure map.”

The first guy I felt led to walk up to quickly dismissed what I had to say, telling me, “It could mean anything to anyone.”

The second guy was a crazy story. God told me to find a specific shade of green, a fresh market, and limes. Then there it was! A produce stand, selling limes, that same shade of unique green. God even told me a word for the guy working there that he was a fighter; a fighter who will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. I asked him what his dream was and you know what he said? “Well…I’m a mixed martial arts fighter…”

What?!

I was pumped and shared how crazy it all was, but he too, quickly shot down everything I had to say. Despite my disbelief that he couldn’t see how much Papa God loved him and knew him so well, I encouraged him regardless.

Finally, (and the craziest story) God told me I would meet a short, round, bald man in a short sleeve, blue, button up shirt at a movie theater buying popcorn. I also thought the Lord said his name was “Bob” and he suffered from lower back pain. I searched Google for a movie theater and found one a mere four miles away. We went to the theater and guess who was there?

Every.

Single.

Thing.

EXACTLY how God had showed me while praying (except his name was Bill and not Bob… still a B though!)

I tried to approach the man to ask his name and if I could share with him what God showed me. He was very aggressive in telling me he wasn’t interested and I could understand how I may have felt in his shoes. Eventually his wife had to mediate on his behalf and that’s when she confirmed, “He’s ALWAYS had that back pain for as long as I can remember. But I’m sorry. He’s a non-believer. You seem sweet but we are just not interested.”

Strike 3.

Three spot on words that were so blatantly obvious that God knows His children and each one turned me down. Each one an attempt from the enemy to make me feel foolish or defeated. “Why do you believe when people don’t want to hear from God?”

But you know what? We are called to be the obedient ones. God still showed He KNOWS His children and His heart is FOR them and not AGAINST them. And Jesus also never promised us that this walk would be easy and everyone would accept us. Actually He promised quite the opposite. He even said not to be surprised if the world rejects you because it rejected Him first.

It’s easy to believe when you’re in church or surrounded by people who are all in it together with you.

It’s easy to believe when strangers receive the gift that you’re attempting to give them.

It’s really easy to believe when the word you speak is spot on for them and encourages them deeply.

It’s easy to believe when everything is going according to plan.

But what about when the plan falls apart?

What about when you aren’t received?

We don’t shrink back and give up. We push forward! James even says to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because this testing of faith develops perseverance (James 1:2). Keep. Moving. Forward.

Sometimes we can test out a new product and get tired of it after a while because we haven’t figured out what it’s fully capable of yet. We could take the time but we choose not to. We’re left dissatisfied. I think that is what happens to people’s faith. You “try Jesus” and see Him almost as a “quick fix” or a convenient “add-on”. But He wasn’t meant to be “tried out” or an accessory to your life. He wants to be Lord of your life.

When you give Him ALL of your heart, you realize that all the “why” questions are finally answered. And it all comes down to integrity. It’s not about living the life when the right people are watching. It’s not adopting convictions to impress the right people. It’s surrendering wholly to the one who promises to give you a life more abundant.

Jesus is the LORD of my life. He doesn’t have just a piece of it. He has the whole thing.

Why do I believe in someone or something I cannot see?

I see Him everyday.

I saw Him in each of those three men I met out there in Rhode Island.

I see Him work miracles in strangers’ lives everyday through physical and emotional healing.

I see Him speak spot on words to strangers I’ve never met before and have no explanation for any of it.

I’ve felt his tangible touch on my life twice and I won’t ever forget anytime soon.

So whether I’m accepted or rejected by you or anyone else: I was born to be loved by God (1 John 4:19) and I know He is a good Papa with good gifts for his children. (Matt 7:11)

So whether I have a support system or not: I know I have the One who has promised to never leave me or forsake me. (Deut 31:6)

Through all storms that have recently fallen upon us on this trip in the form of broken down cars, attacks on identity, wounds of insecurities, bouts of anxiety coming in waves, dates being changed, and state plans up in the air after cancellations: I know God has a plan to prosper and not to harm (Jer. 29:11! And as long as we maintain to “Seek first HIS Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33), we don’t need to worry because He keeps us safe in the shelter of His wings. (Ps. 91:4) I will not give up on the promises God has spoken and will hold tight to them because the Lord is trustworthy in ALL He promises and faithful in ALL He does (Ps. 145:13)

So why do I sacrifice all these things and give myself over to this calling?

Because my life is not my own and I’ve been given a second chance.

And I know when I seek God with all my heart:

I will find Him.

And I have found Him.

And so will you.

// Derek

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3 thoughts on “Rhode Island – Integrity

  1. My pastor once said something that gets me through those moments of rejection: we are called to cast out the fishing lines, and it’s up to God to reel them in.
    I hate to feel like I’m just leaving someone hanging when I know God wants to reach them, but they reject what I have to say. But God has shown me it’s not my battle to win. You are doing an amazement job of casting out your lines Derek! And trust me, because of you God has reeled in so many and He is so proud of you.

    Like

  2. Powerful and vulnerable. Thanks for sharing. You’re a pioneer and the road isn’t easy but God protects His. And YOU ARE HIS!

    BLESSINGS!

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  3. Derek~ The enemy is always trying to shoot us down especially when he knows God has given you clear direction. You are so full of God’s Love! You have planted seeds that you may never see grow. Maybe that was God’s purpose in Rhode Island. Keep up your good work for God!
    Prayers for the Movement,
    Ms. Jeanette
    Georgia

    Like

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