Friday: Today I’m returning to House of Bread Church in Sacramento. This weekend’s event is quite unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s a weekend conference for Special Needs families — that is, families who have a member with special needs (such as a handicap, birth defect, chronic disorder, etc.). The event is being pulled together by a Russian brother at IHOP whose son died at age 16 from a congenital disorder, and who now has a passion to minister to families who have members with special needs. House of Bread is a largely Ukrainian congregation, and this conference is especially targeting the Slavic community (Sacramento has one of the strongest Slavic communities in the nation). Sessions will have a Russian translator. This conference is really a first of its kind for the brother organizing this, for the host church, and for the Slavic community. I think he would like this to become an annual conference, and he is hoping Joni Eareckson Tada would be a guest next year.
This is possibly the most challenging event for me this year. There are many tender issues that surround this area, with the potential to offend or alienate listeners or cause misunderstanding. I’m asking for your special prayer covering, please. I need the Lord’s help.
Tonight, in the opening meeting, I am planning to speak on the tension of Ps. 34:19, the tension between the Affliction Camp and the Deliverance Camp. (In my book The Fire of Delayed Answers, I used the language of Isa. 30:15, the Quietness Camp and the Confidence Camp.)
Saturday 1:30 pm: How do I tell you about this event? An event like this helps you step into the world of the disabled, and begin to understand what kind of a world the handicapped endure. An event like this stretches the heart, and challenges us to rise higher into the magnificent love of Christ. Someone like Renee Loux is a superhero in the kingdom, laying down and losing her life for the sake of the special needs children she has adopted. Wow. Last night I spoke on the dance of the two camps (Ps 34:19), applying it to the tension that exists in the body of Christ between those who value the journey and those whose eyes are on the destination. I closed with the Rom 14:3 tendencies on either side of the tension to either judge or despise those on the other side. We must not judge or despise but love one another. Then, in this Saturday morning’s session, I spoke for a short 30 minutes (with translator) about how the Lord evaluates our stewardship based upon how we handle the weak. Most everyone else who is speaking at this event has been speaking about their own personal story, which is great; I think my contribution has been in opening the Scriptures and preaching the word. So I’m glad I can play a small part.
In tonight’s 5:30 meeting I’m scheduled to speak for 30 minutes with translator, and I’m going to share briefly from James 1:2-4.
Saturday 9:30 pm: We’re back to the hotel after this evening’s meeting. While riding there in the car, during a conversation with Renee Loux I felt some inspiration on our conversation, so changed the direction of my message, and went with what we were talking about. (Jesus’ most common teaching.) The Lord seemed to be inspiring it, and I believe it was edifying to the group. Then Renee got up after me and shared her story, just marvelous.
The night went long, but now I’m settled in for the night and getting ready for tomorrow morning.