Let’s Go ALL IN for an explosion of faith! #10,000Laborers

If I said you can play at a role in 
helping someone encounter 
a saving relationship with Jesus Christ 
would you feel apathetic, scared, doubtful or excited?
I want you invite you to join me in jumping out of a comfort zone. Maybe you’re like me — a Christian with a passion to help others know the saving truth BUT not particularly comfortable with overtly “evangelical” conversations.  Does it surprise you that I’m not comfortable explaining the Gospel to someone who doesn’t know it or hasn’t accepted it yet? After all, I’m executive director of a Christian ministry that reaches people all over the world. Sure, my life’s passion and work involves helping people experience more intimate personal relationship with the Savior, but I am not (underscore NOT) an evangelist! Yes, I have even written books and blogs about disciple making. But that rarely involves overt presentation of the Gospel message with someone who doesn’t already follow Jesus. Nonetheless, I’ve jumped into an opportunity of a lifetime recently and I don’t want you to find out about it later and wish that you could have come along (because, trust me, a lot of you reading this right now will be hearing about it later and will truly regret that you missed out)!
A few months ago, I was presented with an opportunity to go on a local mission trip in July 2014 sharing the Gospel with people in the Twin Cities and to do so as part of a team as large as 10,000 laborers!  So I started attending monthly prayer, equipping and sharing experiences that are an empowering privilege — connecting me with Christ-loving people who want to lovingly share Jesus with people of the Twin Cities who are lost, broken and without hope.
From the faith perspective, I have to tell you that this is one of the more challenging but exciting things I’ve done in a long time. I’ve already been out on a couple of practice runs with Time to Revivie and I’m being stretched and encouraged in ways that are very satisfying and God-honoring.  Just last weekend I spent some time in a hospital coffee shop and met a young dating couple who were visiting their grandpa who was in his last hours/days with brain cancer.  My team asked permission to pray for them and they accepted with awe and tears in their eyes. After we encouraged them and shared the Gospel, they thanked us profusely and went back upstairs empowered to read the Psalms and sing hymns with their loved ones.  
So with a training recap coming up this Friday night and Saturday morning, there’s a fire down in my soul to share this really great opportunity with you. I am praying that you will take a hard look at what you have going on this weekend and consider whether God maybe leading you to participate in a few hours that could not only change your life but, more importantly, change someone else’s life for eternity!
There’s a FREE equipping session Friday night then Saturday morning involves worship, prayer, training review and practice within a small team!  You get paired up with two or three other people from churches all around the Twin Cities for an opportunity to pray for others and encourage them to go ALL IN with Jesus.  Even if you can only attend one session (Friday/Saturday), give it a go!  Larry and I will be watching out for friends and would love to see you there!  
And the beauty is that you can jump into the fun fray of this at any point (no prior experiences necessary). Adults, kids, grandparents…it’s multi-generational!
To learn more about the Revive Twin Cities experience or learn about what Time to Revive is doing in other cities around the country (soon to be near you), visit their website at http://www.revivetwincities.org 

As I post this right now, I’m praying that God grabs hold of your heart and time — spurs you into the adventure with us.  If you’re still on the fence or just want to ask me more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at lisa@walkrightin.org.  I would just LOVE to see you at Grace Church this weekend.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family and the
team at Walk Right In Ministries!

God made Himself in the form of man and came to earth…and He’s STILL with us!

Does Christmas stir thoughts about life and faith for you as it does for me? For these next few days there will be excitement about gifts, gatherings and good food. While coming to the end of another year feeling thankful, many will also feel melancholy or isolated and alone. Even though Christmas is the season when we celebrate that GOD CAME NEAR, God can seem far away.

For many years, God felt far away and detached to me. I believed and hoped He was “out there” somewhere but I often wished for tangible evidence. I’m thankful that God has been deepening my intimacy with Him year after year and using the Christmas season in that process. So many of the Christmas cards we receive are reminders that God has shown Himself to us through the practical and prayerful love of community, especially during those first few years when disability was new to our family. Doing life around people who talk about how they are experiencing Jesus profoundly enriches my relationship with Him and reassures me that God is truly near, compassionate, powerful and accessible. Especially when life is hard, I need to know that God is in authority over that darkness, that He brings meaning and purpose to what seems tragic or merciless.

Glory Stories are the experiences we live and talk about that point to the power, presence and goodness of God. God uses our shared stories about stumbling and imperfect but seeking faith to shake up our perspectives, deepen our relationships with each other and reassure us that God is INTIMATELY PERSONAL and HE STILL REIGNS!

When it comes to Glory Stories in the Bible, Zechariah’s encounter with the angel Gabriel inspires me at Christmas time. It’s a beautiful example of a man whose life and lips declared the presence, power and goodness of God. The following is an excerpt from my new book “Living Your Glory Story” (available February 2014).   

Zechariah, a priest and John the Baptist’s father, prayed for years that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child. Despite their old age, Zechariah was met by the angel with messages from God that would rock his world and bring the announcement that changes ours. 

First, Gabriel told Zechariah that his son would be great in the sight of God. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he told Zechariah that his boy would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born (Luke 1:15)! Zechariah initially questioned that news and, as a consequence for his unbelief, God took his voice away (a very essential need for someone serving as a priest). Ultimately, however, Zechariah was obedient and trusted God. As a result, he was given back his voice along with a song of prophesy—a marvelous Glory Story—to shout out about the greatest rescue mission ever told (Luke 1:68-79).

I pray this Christmas brings you all sorts of beautiful and fun things—laughter, hugs, sparkling decorations, candles, nostalgic music, sweet aromas coming from the oven, games, movies, encouraging conversations—but an increasing sense of God’s intimate nearness most of all. His presence, power and goodness are REALITY. 

How can you bring that marvelous truth into your day-to-day conversations with things like compassion, enthusiasm, humility, expectancy, generosity, transparency, authenticity and vulnerability? In those exchanges, may God encourage and reassure you as well as others.

Walk Right In Ministries helps people connect and grow in Christ-centered communities. In particular, we advocate for and make resources available to people on the fringes of church engagement due to life challenges like caregiving for children with special needs. Thank you for joining us with prayers and financial support in 2013. Together, we are sharing the hope and love of Jesus Christ. There is no gift greater we can give.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Larry, Lisa, Tim, Judy, Bud, Jan, Jerry & Marilyn
(Board of Directors)

Glory Stories from “The Hand of God”

I want to thank Regina Steiger for giving us permission to share this video message with you today. Regina is a television and video producer of The Hand of God as well as The View from Here.  
The Hand of God is like a half hour long news broadcast — but with a difference. Each episode tells stories from folks around the country who are encountering Jesus in their lives.  If you only have time for a taste of this encouragement today, watch the first 8 minutes which shares the beautiful story of an art teacher whose classroom project triggered unexpected, powerful connections with God for both the students and their teacher.

Click for Episode 2 here if the video below isn’t functioning properly.

How I met Regina and learned about her ministry is a humbling and exciting Glory Story in itself. Almost a year ago, I read a message from a LinkedIn group. (It’s important to note that I almost never read my alerts from those groups.) Regina’s post to the group caught my eye because she was asking a question so close to my heart.  She wanted to hear from other women who feel a calling to tell women’s stories in film. I wrote a quick note back telling her about our Glory Story ministry and referring her to the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival.  Regina and her daughter attended the 2013 Gideon Film Festival last July and that has led to multiple new and fruitful connections in ministry and life including the privilege for me of sharing these stories with you today.  Now that’s the hand of God!

Jennifer’s Glory Story

The following Glory Story was contributed by Jennifer Greene who facilitated a Finding Glory Group earlier this year at McLean Bible Church (Loudoun Campus) in Virginia.  Jennifer, along with six other moms who have children with special needs, met monthly using the Finding Glory study package.  Larry and I had the privilege of visiting with part of the group over coffee prior to the 2013 Accessibility Summit in April.  It was easy to be inspired by these moms who, despite extraordinary challenges, are working to build encouraging, Christ-centered relationships in their lives and put their focus on God’s Word.  Their husbands and children are receiving the spill-over of that blessing too.  Please say a prayer for these families today.

“During our mom’s small group the other day, I shared about wanting to really press in to Jesus and have a deeper and richer relationship. I feel that I want to be overwhelmed by Him. I so often say I’m overwhelmed by my life’s circumstances but I feel that Jesus is saying, “Why not be overwhelmed by ME??!!!”  

So I’ve been thinking: What if we pressed in and became overwhelmed by our magnificent Savior? Isn’t it possible that he is BIG enough to overwhelm us with his love so that we don’t feel so completely burdened by our children’s disability? 

The moms agreed that this is possible but, in all honesty, they admitted that they were just too numb from life to even want to press in and seek God for something like this.
I thought that this is a reality for so many of us. 

We love God but we suffer under the weight of our child’s disability. But God didn’t allow our children to have disabilities so that we could travel a road of suffering until we die then have joy only when we get to heaven!  Shouldn’t we be overwhelmed by God’s goodness and love right here in the midst of our circumstances?  Isn’t that the ultimate testimony to our Sovereign God?”

Thank you for listening to the prompting of the Lord and for sharing, Jennifer!

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:17-19
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Interview with Young Life Capernaum

Young people around the world —thousands of them— are hearing the message of God’s love for them from a trusted friend in Young Life.  It’s a fantastic organization that believes in the power of presence.  Kids’ lives are dramatically impacted when adults come alongside them, sharing God’s love. 
Since I am the mom of a child with disabilities, I am especially grateful to know Carly is now old enough to participate in Young Life (which starts at 14 years old) because these wonderful folks are intentional about reaching out to her in special needs as well.  While all Young Life activities are open to every kid, many cities have dedicated programs for kids and young adults with disabilities, typically referred to as Young Life Capernaum Ministries. 
I had the opportunity interview Tasha Myrah of Capernaum Greater Minneapolis.  It’s my privilege to introduce our readers today and our prayer that you will get connected and/or tell someone else who would be blessed to experience this worldwide ministry. 

WRIM:  Tell us about your ministry — its mission, the primary ways it is serving the community, the ministry schedule.  
Tasha:  Young Life Capernaum is a non-profit Christian ministry devoted to serving the needs of youth with physical and developmental disabilities.  We believe that young people with disabilities have the right to experience all of life’s opportunities such as: fulfilling friendships, fun and adventure, activities that build self-esteem and challenge their limits, and the right to explore a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We reach teens through bi-weekly “club” events, camp experiences, and most importantly leader interaction.  We have over 20 leaders that are committed to meeting our teens where they’re at and walking through life with them.  

WRIM:  What drew you to disability ministry? 
Tasha:  When Capernaum goes to camp, we do one-on-one leader-kid pairings, which means that we typically need a few extra people outside of our leadership team.  I found out about the opportunity to go to camp as a buddy and it literally changed my life.  I didn’t have any prior experience working with people with disabilities, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I could tell after that week that God had something bigger for me here. At the time I had been in the corporate world and over the next few years I went from camp buddy to leader to part-time staff to being able to be work for Capernaum full-time.  I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly what drew me in.  I just absolutely fell in love with the kids and how real they were.  The kind of people you get to work with in this population is like no other, and I’m so thankful that God led me and my family into this.

WRIM:  How has God used your experiences in disability ministry to shape you as a person?  
Tasha:  As I eluded to above, it has completely changed me.  My husband and I started leading when we were dating, and I can’t imagine how different our lives would be without Capernaum.  My entire world-view is different now and my eyes have been opened to the purpose of my life.  My family has been so blessed by the kids and parents involved in Capernaum.  My 18 month old has had the joy of having kids, their parents, and leaders that love spending time with her.  I am thankful for the opportunity to raise her around these friends.  I would say overall, working in this ministry has just made my faith stronger and my definition of friendship and community change in a great way.

WRIM:  What is one hope/dream you have for the future of disability ministry locally or globally?   
Tasha:  I would love if some day Capernaum didn’t need to exist.  I pray for a time that every kid, no matter  their ability level, would have a place in the church.  That families could go and be part of the body without having to fight for programs that accommodate their kids.  Some churches do a great job of this, but I hear so many stories from parents that break my heart about how they weren’t accepted at their church so just stopped going.  

WRIM:  What is one recent way/story that demonstrates God’s presence and power in the lives of someone being served through your organization?  
Tasha: I actually just got an email yesterday from a mom telling me about how her son, who has down syndrome, always talks the whole drive home about the club talk we gave that night, and also brings up talks from camp and asks what his parents think and believe.  I was shocked because this is a kid that I’ve maybe heard say 20 words in the 3 years he’s been coming to club.  I love how God speaks to our kids in ways that we don’t know, and that our job is just to trust Him in that.  

WRIM: Based on the challenges associated with this type of ministry, how would you like people to be praying for you or your organization?  
Tasha: I would say our biggest ongoing prayer is for more people who feel called to lead with Capernaum to do so.  The commitment of our leadership team is really what sets Capernaum apart, and we really can only reach as many kids well as the number of leaders we have.  Another prayer would be for parents to find out about the ministry.  Most of how people find out is word-of-mouth.  I know there are a TON of kids in the metro that don’t know about Capernaum, and I just pray that people that need to hear about it would somehow.

Our thanks to Tasha for sharing her inspiring story and helping us learn about the opportunities!  Remember friends, Young Life is worldwide so go here and find a group near you where you can serve and/or help a young person get involved!

Top Blog Posts for 2011!

We are looking back at WRIM Blog reader favorites for 2011. If you missed them the first time around, we hope you are blessed today!
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2000 were a time of profound emotion for Larry and I.  While overwhelmed with gratitude for an experience of remarkable community support, we had also just been told that our 2 1/2 year old daughter Carly had Angelman Syndrome. The news ripped our hearts. Continued here.
I’m excited to share a really fun story today. It will take a little setting up but stick with me because this will kick your week off with a big smile. Have you heard? Story is all the rage these days. Everyone is talking about it. Your story. My story. God’s story. Continued here.
This is a very difficult update for me to write. Ordinarily, we would post something of such a personal nature only on Carly’s Care Page. But I felt prompted to share our need for prayer more publicly at this time.  Continued here.
Pulling dead flowers from the gardens one afternoon last week led me to tears and a couple days of raw emotion.  I knelt by the phlox and day lilies praying ... Continued here.
We drove to Springfield, Missouri and back to Minneapolis for Thanksgiving. It involved almost 24 hours driving and required a certain amount of caffeine. My usual “drug” of choice is green tea but that would have triggered too many stops. After peering into the cooler at the gas station for a moment, I decided on a Pepsi Throwback.  Continued here.