Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Yesterday, my OneDayServe team served a hurricane of a woman named Katrina.  You talk about a story— this is a story!  Katrina’s uncle came outta nowhere when my life hit the skids 15 years ago.  I’ve often said that my friend Don walked in when others walked out.  And not only stitched together my gaping wounds, he stood at the gate of my heart and refused to let anybody but the most righteous of heart enter in.  And Don never asked for anything from me. 

Until two months ago, when he told me that his niece had recently moved from Chicago to Scottsdale.  And that not long after moving here— she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  He asked me if our church could find some way to help her.  And I wasn’t about to say NO. 

Without even one additional morsel of information, our church stepped in.  I sent a 911 to some of the same people who helped carry Cindy and me.  Nancy quickly added Katrina to our OneDayServe list.  And Gin and her small group stepped to actually do the work. 

And it was HARD work.  We were there, just yesterday, and we helped the niece of the man who helped me.  But it wasn’t until just a few days before yesterday that we learned that God had been weaving an even more incredible story. 

See, I had no clue, but Katrina had also lived in Evansville.  And as youngster, she took piano lessons and for a while, traded her piano lessons by giving her piano teacher’s son swimming lessons. 

But back to the Arizona part of this story.  Katrina’s family had told her about me.  How I once pastored the biggest church in Evansville and was now in Anthem, AZ.  They also told her that my wife had recently died of breast cancer. 

So Katrina went to my website and read all of my blogs…but she just couldn’t bring herself to watch Cindy’s video.  See, the thought of seeing Cindy’s  frightened her way…cuz she just wanted to hear happy stories. 

But as OneDayServe drew closer, her curiosity got the best of her…and she watched Cindy’s video.  And as she did, she couldn’t believe her eyes!  See, Katrina’s piano teacher…was my bride!  And the boy she taught to swim was Drew. 

Isn’t it amazing how God works? 

Now Katrina is a woman of faith, but it’s still unclear as to whether she has fully embraced “the true message of the gospel”[1] or fully understands “God’s grace.”[2]  All we know for sure is that what she does know is Cindy’s verse.  Cuz she saw it in Cindy’s story. 

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.[3]

But more than just Cindy’s verse, she has now received OUR…serve.  And although I’m convinced Katrina has no idea what God is up to…and His purpose behind her growing story— I’m equally convinced that God already has Katrina in His sights. 

But follow me now:  If her salvation is, in fact, the way her story will one day read?  It’s because OneDayServe helped make her God’s amazing purpose…possible.

That’s how it worked through Epaphras.  He heard about “the gospel” because Paul had so much “love” that he taught the Bible every day, all day for two long years. 

But then Epaphras also had love…for his people back home.  So he went home…and told those he “loved” about “the word of truth.”

A “love” that was so strong that Paul, even though he was in prison at the time, see it…?  Even there, Paul had “heard of [their] faith in Christ Jesus and of the love [they had] for all God’s people.”[4]

See, there is an undeniable link between trusting in the gospel and loving God’s people.  Don Hester is an incredible man of faith, but it was his “love” that kept me connected to God and eventually restored me to ministry. 

So I move out to Arizona, and I don’t know why.  Except I was once again driven by my love for “God’s people.”  I didn’t need to keep putting my heart out there, but I did.  So we start a church, a church with a heart for people who hurt…no matter what the reason may be for why they hurt. 

Then I go through two years of hell, but once again I’m carried by people who “love” me.  And then, about the time, I’m getting healed again, I get a call to “love” somebody else.  So we do. 

We love her and serve her— and then watch as God amazingly loops the same ‘ole story that has been repeated countless times since “the gospel” was first unpacked at Pentecost: 

Someone loved me…

…so that I could love you…

…and then you loved me…

…so I could love more…

…and then we loved Katrina…

because Jesus first loved…us.

And so it goes. 

[1] Colossians 1:5

[2] Colossians 1:6

[3] II Corinthians 4:7-9

[4] Colossians 1:4

This is an exerpt from Stored Up and Springing From. For more, please go to thecrossroadsaz.com.

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