Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Most Important Trip

Vacations, business trips, adventures.

Process of getting there, from here, are common:

Determine the destination.

Set the GPS.

Follow the turn-by-turn instructions.

Arrive safely at your destination.

There is one final trip we will all make.

We will start from wherever we are now, temporarily, into where we will reside forever.

This isn’t an optional trip, not one we can ‘opt out’ of.

We will all, eventually, embark on it.

With no exception, we will all make this final step in our journey.

Some of us will have no advance notice, no time to get ready.

Yet, we will go.

Are you ready for the final stage of your journey?

Determine the destination.

Set the gps.

Follow the turn-by-turn instructions.

Arrive safely Home

My job isn’t to convince, it’s simply to inform.

It’s up to you to accept, or reject, the information given.

My encouragement is to consider that you have the choice where ‘home’ will be after that final step.  While you cannot choose ‘if’ you will go, you can choose ‘where’.

I believe the message of the gospel, the message of the Cross, is true.

I believe God creates, redeems, restores, and receives all who have chosen to accept that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

I believe there is one Name under heaven given to us by which we can be saved.

I believe we have a choice to make, and that choice determines our eternal address.

I believe God loves us enough to respect our eternal choice.

While we had no choice where, and when, we would be born into this life, we have complete freedom to choose where we will exist for the next, more important life.

Determine the destination –  Heaven for eternity.

Set the GPS of your life to follow Jesus’ claim that He is the way, the truth, the life.

Choose to accept that He is, indeed, Lord of all  –  including you.

Follow the turn-by-turn instructions in His Word.

Arrive safely Home.

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When Holiness Invades

Persistent heartache.

Perpetual “un-answer” to prayer.

Daily shame, constant reminder of falling short.

Heaven seems silent, distant, unreachable.

Yet you persevere, somehow.

For some reason planted deep within your soul, you continue with the routine.

Serve. Give. Pray.

Pray some more.

Give some more.

Cry a lot.

Then, in the middle of the mundane, the routine, Heaven shows up.

As Gabriel to Zechariah, the Father sends a message to you.

Gabriel’s first words: Don’t be afraid.

Then: Your prayer has been heard.

When holiness shows up, a holy fear is expected.

While our routines may seem mundane, ordinary, His message never is.

Don’t fear. Just, don’t be casual when the answer arrives.

The answer.

To your prayers.

Prayers offered faithfully, consistently.

Sometimes painfully, with tear-filled eyes and weeping words.

Yet, still offered.

While the Father is well able to intervene in situations we have not yet prayed about, His most consistent work is in direct answer to what we have persistently prayed.

His blessings most freely flow to those who consistently spend time praying, listening, learning.

Don’t give up that prayer.

Don’t neglect that consistent routine of kneeling, serving in His presence.

You just might be a prayer away from seeing Holiness to invade your space.

And when Holiness invades, everything changes.


Barking At Shadows

Early morning walk, darkness still ruling the neighborhood.

Podcast playing in my ear, doggie by my side.

Best time of the day.

Then, the busy street. Cars headed for work on the early shift.

Lights are bright, avoidable by looking away.

Turn up the volume of the sermon, hold the leash tightly.

And then, the shadows.

Dancing across the walking path, moving eerily across buildings.

Flashing around us in unpredictable patterns as the light of the cars from both directions battles to created confusion on the concrete.

And the doggie barks.

Skittish, jumping, not aware that her movements  –  while focusing on the shadows  –  might actually cause her to run into something dangerous.

Be at peace, little friend, the shadows cannot hurt you.

They can confuse, distract, distort.

But they cannot touch you nor slow down your progress.

Funny thing about shadows: they are fully dependent on Light for their very existence.

If we stop watching them, stop barking at them, we can focus on the source of the light to determine our best direction.

If we get distracted by the shadows, we might inadvertently rush off into something that truly could hurt us.

The doggie and I focus on the light. It will lead us home.

It will leave the shadows dancing, flailing, falling into the darkness.

We will walk forward untouched, undeterred, unhindered by their presence.

Stop barking at shadows today.

Simply trust, and walk in the Light of His Word.

It, and He, will lead you Home.


When The End Is Not The End

Nothing in this physical life is now, or ever will be, the end of me.

Nothing you say or do can touch, influence, or detract in any way how my journey will end.

Knowing that allows me to walk through every single day, every rock-laden valley, every sin-infested mess, every gut-wrenching heartache as if it is simply a temporary stop on a much bigger journey. It allows me to view any attack on this physical body as a last-gasp attempt by the enemy of us all to take my focus off the perfect, eternal, heavenly body I will receive when I see the Lover of my soul face to face. Some of those physical attacks may actually serve to usher me into His presence sooner.

I will focus my eyes on Him.

He’s the One Who taught me to live this way.

On the Cross. Mangled from flogging, bruised from beatings, gasping for breath.

Mocking, taunting, evil men  –  many pretending to know God  –  add insult to injury.

Surely now, at the end of physical life, He will rise up to destroy them and reveal Who He really is, where His power truly comes from.

Except, He knew what they only pretended to understand: the end of physical life is not the end.

It is only a doorway to the life that matters most, lasts the longest, and makes the greatest statement about who we are  –  and Whose we are.

No matter how great today feels, it is merely a cheap token of the splendor, the glory, the amazing reward ahead for those who are truly His.

No matter how dark, dreary, painful, tear-filled, seemingly hopeless today tries to appear, it is a facade – a smoke screen  –  trying to hide the rest of the journey from us. A journey, when walked in step with Him, that always leads to the unveiling of our real end: eternally healed, rewarded, loved, embraced by the full expression of Love Himself.

Until we are seeing Him face to face and feeling His embrace, it is not the end.


Early Morning Heartbreak

I love early mornings. The quiet, the calm, the crazy dog who wakes up even more energetic than I. One of the most productive and rewarding times for me.

Except, not this morning.

Wide awake, getting things done. Things that should not need to be done.

Not here, not now, not with living in such a wealthy community.

For the 6th time in less than two weeks, we’re working with a young person desperately in need of the Barnabas House. 16 years old, abandoned by her family. CPS has been contacted, repeatedly, for more than 3 years.

Late last night and early this morning, they’re no help.

She’s resilient, focused on her goals, wanting desperately to break the cycle of chaos she’s been forced into. Spent last night with “the friend of a friend…” A Barnabas mentor picked her up about 6:30am, gathered her belongings. Breakfast at the McD’s drive through. Deliver to the Barnabas office.

As I type this, she’s asleep in one of our back rooms. Not much sleep last night, need to rest because her next Driver’s Ed class is this afternoon. Willing to work around the office if needed.

Her eyes were a mixture of exhaustion, pain, uncertainty.

“Thanks for the safe place”.

A backpack contains her clothes. The box she travels with contains her food.

Her heart holds far too many memories of abuse, abandonment, words of ‘we don’t want you here’, and an increasing sense of despair that this cycle will never end.

If only the Barnabas House was already built.

If only the other cabins were also completed, for those like this young lady who will need the time & teaching of independent living to become successful. Because for her, there is no family to teach her. No family to support her efforts to break the cycle. Except the Barnabas family.

And right now, the best we have to give her is some sleep in our storage room.

Absolutely unacceptable.

We keep following the strategic steps of those who say we need to keep educating the community, making people aware of the need, keeping the ‘cause’ in front of their ears and eyes.

Surely, once they know the need, they’ll contribute to the solution.

In the most polite way possible, I want to shout to the entire community just how sick and tired I am of spending money to make people aware of the need, to get better numbers, better photos, more professional presentations, attend this, talk here, serve there….

…and the best place I have, today, for my young friend to sleep is on an air mattress in my storage room.

Absolutely unacceptable in this community.

We need the cash NOW to build the House. And then, the next house. And the next…

$10 million over 5 years to provide the housing we need, the educational & recreational facility, and all the support services they need to either be reunited with a solid family, or learn how to live on their own.

It all starts with the first House. We need $1.2 million to build it.

Then another $1million for the additional houses (room for 5 on our property).

Then the community / recreational / life skills / office building, and all the supporting programs.

The solution starts with you.

You can start by texting the word ‘barnabas’ to 20222. That’ll provide a $10 donation directly toward the Barnabas House Project.

You can go on-line and donate any amount at www.barnabasmin.org

Maybe you’re “the one” who is supposed to be our million dollar donor. Or two…

Call me at 616.748.8435. Let’s talk.

Let’s do better for our kids who are trying desperately to make the right choices in a world that’s gone all wrong.

Let’s get my friend out of the storage room, away from the unsafe offers of predators, and into a safe place.

Let’s build the Barnabas House, now.

#Homeless2Hopeful

LoriJo Schepers, Executive Director

Barnabas Ministries, Inc.

lorijo@barnabasmin.org