By Kimberly Iverson on Jun 09, 2017 08:42 am
It came just a week after I posted my parenting and ministry battle cry…a self-reminder to stay faithful in planting the seeds.
The news of fruit.
fruitfulness in praying for neighbors.
fruitfulness of continuing to host Shalom Nights each week to have a meal, worship and study Scripture together.
fruitfulness in the simple act of showing up, even if only a handful of others show up with you.
The news came from a guy on our team. A guy who saw the vision, bought a house with a friend in our community, and started a Shalom house of their own….all within a year of graduating college. A guy who has seen many set-backs and heartbreaks and seemingly little fruitfulness from those he has poured into. But then. Then this happens….
Here’s Taylor’s most recent newsletter…
God Hears Us!
What if prayer works? What if God really does hear us? What if He actually does follow through on His dozens of promises when it comes to answering our prayers?
I love John 15:7. Jesus says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” That’s a pretty good combo. When we’re really living in sync with Jesus, then our hearts will long for the same things as Him, and we’ll pray for the things He wants too! It’s easy for God to answer prayers for things He already wants.
Two months ago, I asked you to pray for our neighbor, Hakeem. As proof, here’s that prayer request from March:
|Somebody once told me: “I don’t try to change a man’s heart. I pray to the God who changes men’s hearts.” So that’s what we did! We started asking God to move in our neighbor’s heart.
This past Sunday at house church, prayers were answered. Jonathan and I had been pretty busy all weekend, with both of us being out of town until the afternoon of house church. We usually have something prepared to teach on, but this time, not so much. As we talked on the phone Sunday afternoon, we agreed that maybe God just wanted us to do a classic sharing of the gospel using Ephesians 2. And holy cow, God moved. We had a pretty big crowd (which we sometimes consider a big movement of God in itself), and had some new friends hang out with us. As we finished our teaching about completely surrendering to Jesus, the question was asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus today. Without a second of silence, Hakeem quickly said, “I want to do that.” And he sounded like he was in a hurry to do it!
We were a little surprised! But we immediately started praying as a group, and then Hakeem started praying. And when I say he was praying, I mean laying it all out there. He later told me that as he was praying, he heard God say, “Let me talk.” So he opened his mouth, and just let God talk. As a result, this fifteen-year-old kid began spouting off scriptures he’d never heard before and apparently was seeing some things too. Hakeem literally said, “God I see your hands coming from the sky. You want me. And I want you too.” Amazing right?
It gets better. I asked him if he wanted to ride with me as I drove other neighbors home. Let’s keep this in mind, Hakeem isn’t exactly a theologian, so the quotes you’re about to hear made my heart almost beat out of my chest. As we’re walking out to my car, he looks at me with tears in his eyes and says, “I can’t explain it. I have so much joy. And it feels like I’ve been born all over again. I feel new. (John 3:3)” He keeps on talking as we’re riding. “Taylor, I felt so dirty coming to your house tonight. But it feels like Jesus came and made me completely clean. I feel clean! (2 Cor. 5:21)” After we drop off our friend, he says, “You know, when I was younger, I was baptized with water. But this time feels different. It feels like I’ve been baptized in my spirit! (Mat. 3:11)” I just started laughing when he said that. That’s exactly what happened! He said, “It feels like Jesus came and just took over my heart. It feels like He’s inside of me. (Eph. 3:17)” YES! HE IS INSIDE OF HIM! I could go on and on, but God performed a miracle this past Sunday night. Thank you for praying for our new brother, Hakeem.
So, my friends, and those weary of heart, may we not neglect that secret place of prayer. For under the earth, God is sprouting and growing and putting things into motion for fruit to come from our labors and intercessions.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
The post For Those of Us Who Need a Reminder of the Fruitfulness of Prayer appeared first on Journey To Shalom.
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By Kimberly Iverson on Jun 05, 2017 06:09 pm
We ran into Danny’s former mentor, and he says, “Wait. I thought you were really sick. How are you doing?”
Everyone got the update on Danny’s Lyme Disease Diagnosis, but we forgot to report the answer to prayer.
Time for an Iverson Update! (The main praises and prayer requests are in bold)
Lyme Disease Diagnosis
Danny has been doing remarkably well concerning his Lyme disease. He has been checking in with his doctor at Longevity Health Center and taking the prescribed homeopathic remedies and supplements. Since his diagnosis he did a three day water fast, followed by 10 days of just liquids/smoothies, followed by the 21 Day Daniel Fast. This type of eating did wonders for his energy level, focus, and it caused the body achiness to subside, with just headaches and sleeplessness still lingering. In that time, we also had a Celebrate Grove Park celebration in which there was an extended time for healing prayer. There was a marked difference in him after that time! Praise the Lord for His healing power and the amount of energy and focus that Danny has had despite his body fighting off this disease. The past month old eating habits have started to creep in and our most recent Memorial Day vacation didn’t help, and symptoms have started to return. Please pray that he (and we as a family) will Eat to Live, and enjoy the amazing foods God causes to grow from the ground to nourish and heal us.
Danny baptizing Gwennalyn at our monthly celebration
Church Planting Update
Church planting.is.not.for.the.faint.of.heart. Criticisms. gossip. broken lives compounded by systemic poverty. misunderstandings. marriages needing repair. marriages needing to happen. kids being neglected. kids being abused. greed. All things we face on a daily basis. sometimes hourly basis. Something we have been praying aloud every morning is the promise in Isaiah 54:17 “Thank you that no weapon formed against us will prosper. We will refute every tongue that accuses us. This is our heritage as servants of the Lord, our vindication is from you, O God.”
We have four house churches simultaneously meeting on Sunday evenings, with a meal, worship, teaching and prayer occurring. We praise the Lord for our house church leaders! They open their homes weekly to anywhere from 5-25 children, teens, and adults in order for the word of God to be studied by their guests. Would you pray for hearts that “do not grow weary in doing good but have confidence that they will reap a harvest if they do not give up”? These leaders offer hospitality in the midst of full time jobs, families, other ministry commitments, and their own hectic lives. We did lose some momentum in the wake of Gwennalyn’s birth and having to move our family’s Shalom house gathering to another home for two months while Kimberly recovered and Gwennalyn built up her immune system. The May Celebrate Grove Park consisted of 35 children and teens, many without parents in attendance, which was a bit overwhelming, but a great sign that our summer camp initiative is exactly what we need to be focusing on this summer.
The joy of this little girl and the absence of postpartum depression was worth a temporary ministry setbacks, and we believe we still made the right decisions.
Summer has Started!
Daniel Josiah (5th), Trinity (4th), Katy-Grace (2nd) and Benjamin (K) all finished school with flying colors. We are thankful for their school, Westside Atlanta Charter School, and for all the families, teachers and administrators that truly form a beautiful and diverse community and family. The school is made up of a vast array of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and we feel that our children are benefiting from the rigor of the education as well as the many different people they learn alongside. Both Daniel Josiah and Trinity made it into the end of year talent show and they were excited to perform in front of us all. This summer the kids look forward to participating in all the different camps and activities that Restore Life and Shalom City are facilitating for the community kids. Would you consider sponsoring one of their neighborhood friends, so that they can join in the fun, discipleship, and development that will occur? Check out this video that newscaster Katy-Grace was featured in. And if you want to see the original Operation End the Boredom (our summer camp video) click here. To sponsor a child go here.
Discipleship Groups Starting this Fall
For the past two months, fourteen key leaders have been going through a discipleship launching curriculum with the intention to start discipleship groups this fall. The goal is to have 3-5 people commit to walking closely with one another in a group as they study Scripture, pray for one another, and live on mission in whatever sphere of influence they are in. This weekly time of spiritual encouragement is absolutely key in growing people up on the faith and helping people become leaders and agents of change in their community. Please pray for wisdom as we ask the Lord who exactly to pour our lives into. Please pray that Scripture-studying, God-seeking, influence-making groups would rise up all around our neighborhood that keeps multiplying far beyond our immediate sphere of influence. This is the only way lasting change will occur in this region of Atlanta.
Thank you, to all those that pray and support this work here in Atlanta. Spending time on your knees to our great God on our behalf is the best gift and encouragement you could give us! Please continue to join us in prayer, as we pray into the promises of Jeremiah 33: 6-11 for our community…
“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace.
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. 8 I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion.
9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.
10 “This is what the Lord says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. They will sing,
‘Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
for the Lord is good.
His faithful love endures forever!’
For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord.
The post An Iverson Update appeared first on Journey To Shalom.
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