Phil 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
I am confident of this: That God has begun a good work in us and with our neighbors in North Minneapolis. He is the author and perfector of our faith, and He is writing a wonderful story. We don’t always see it in the here and now, but we can be confident that He led us here and He is doing great work all around us.
Richard is my friend and neighbor. He is often found sitting on the porch of his Ex-Father-in-law who goes by the name of a popular malted beverage. This porch is usually very full and active with friends, relatives and others passing through. It is a very ‘busy’ house. And many are drunk. Constantly drunk. At first glance it would be easy to label this home as a blight to the neighborhood and a typical ‘ghetto’ home. I see it as much more.
Richard and I often chat in passing, and occasionally our conversation goes deep. Last month I brought him a cup of coffee, which turned into a 2-hour conversation on the ministry that Christ has entrusted to Richard. Richard knows he’s more valuable than he puts on, and he knows that he has a destiny to change the world around him. This cup of coffee led to an invitation to a birthday party the following week for his niece.
I was the only white guy at the BBQ, with over 30 friends and family young and old all around me. Initially everyone thought I was a Jehovah’s Witness or wanting to sign them up for a program, until Richard introduced me. It was a beautiful sight to see so many friends and family stopping by. Again, most were drunk. I could barely make out what Richards ex father-in-law was saying to me; I could only catch about every third word. Between flipping chicken and hotdogs, Richard is telling me how happy he is to see so many kids over and staying out of trouble. His heart is for the safety of the children in the neighborhood. Through the smoke, Richard tilts his head and focuses his eyes on mine and says: “You know Tim, we keep hanging out like this; things are going to change around here.” That sounds great to me, Richard.
I believe this is the path that Christ has put us on. Not to go ‘save’ anyone, but to wait, watch and listen to our neighbors. To love without strings. I want to walk with Richard to enact the change he seeks. I know this is possible when we are found in the abundant love and grace of Christ. Paul said, “I can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.”
I want to walk in deeper friendship with men like Richard. Not so he can look and act more like me, but so that we can look and act like Christ. I know his relationship with Him will be different than mine, and that’s what’s so exciting about the Holy Spirit! He makes each one of us unique and has a special plan and purpose for each one of us.
Imagine what will happen to this home when Richard fully catches fire in his love for Christ! He won’t be able to help but love everyone on this porch and introduce them to the source of all LOVE in Jesus Christ. This is the mustard seed that seems very small, but when planted takes root and grows and fills the landscape and soil with it’s presence. This is the kernel of wheat that goes in the ground to die, but when resurrected produces fruit 30,60, 100 times over! This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! I know Jesus began this work, and I know He will be faithful to see it through to completion.
-Tim Daniels, Project 810 Volunteer Project Manager
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