I’ve advised Presidents and heads of state,
And ministered forgiveness
To murderers and inmates,
In Your name.
I’ve been rich,
But know poverty.
I’ve plowed the earth
And wiped sweaty dirt from my face,
Yet poked holes in clouds.
I’ve seen the world,
Stood firm against oppression,
And dodged its secret police,
While dancing with gypsies.
I’ve changed laws
And the course of nations,
While counting the homeless
Among my closest friends.
I’ve led the march of thousands,
And brought stadiums to their feet,
Yet walked with death and a cane.
I fought the mob and won,
And silently saved my daughters
From their threats,
Yet been broken and used up.
I’ve known the joy of hopeless battles won,
And the brotherhood of warriors brave,
Yet cried alone before their graves.
I’ve spoken truth to power,
Hugged the brokenhearted,
And helped set the captive set free.
For all these things, Lord, I am grateful;
It’s been a life well lived.
But most of all,
I thank You that love did not pass me by:
For the joy of Marianne’s embrace
And the wonders of her grace,
I am content.
For the religious, the road to grace is the toughest journey they’ll ever face.
For me, this certainly has been the case. And although the road to grace has been a wonderful journey, there have been many bumps and detours along the way. But slowly, I’m finally starting to find my way forward.
It’s Jesus in me and Jesus through me, so that it becomes possible to have Jesus in us and Jesus through us.
So much of my life over the last five years has been about the Lord reducing me to that simple truth.
Sometimes I get angry and need the Lord to settle my spirit.
I am so frustrated over the shattered lives of man after man who I help find the Lord in jail, who then go to some on-fire, podium-focused, pastor-centric church when they get out.
Inevitably, I will see those men back in jail again a year later, or I’ll hear that they have relapsed and fallen back into addiction or bondage.
This made me weep.
“Judgement looms under every steeple,
with lofty glances from lofty people.”
On Tuesday evening, I understood how Jesus felt when his disciples finally “got it” and reported back, after He sent them out to minister on their own for the first time, that the sick were healed and darkness conquered. In His joy, the Lord said He saw Satan fall from Heaven because of them.
On Tuesday I’m teaching and mentoring a class of students on how to minister in the areas of confession, forgiveness and repentance. After seven weeks of foundation laying, the students this week started doing ministry sessions on their own and – wow! – it was amazing what God did through them that evening.
Since early this year, I’ve been working on a huge sex abuse case involving a large, local Assembly of God church.
The human carnage and shattered lives have been great.
I take on these kinds of cases not only because I believe in justice, but because I also believe in redemption. Often, I have the privilege of seeing God’s grace shine through as healing comes and the survivors begin to find the strength to reclaim their lives – and their stolen voices.
As I interview and get to know various survivors and their families, I’m often asked if the pain will ever stop. I tell them how I have seen God bring beauty from ashes time and again, both in others and in my own life.
It is hard, but once we pass through the fire and begin to see what God does with the ashes of our lives, we experience gratitude for who we start to become.