“Many years ago, I put a gun to his head ….
Now we are working together and worshipping Christ.”
Miracles still happen. Violent men can be reformed.
Mike, and Charlie (names change) had a brutal confrontation that could have ended a life. A family dispute over disrespect escalated until Mike put a gun to Charlie’s head and told him to run and never show his face again. Now years later they find themselves worshipping Christ and working at the same company – one as the manager and the other as an employee.
1 Cor 6:9-11 (paraphrased) says: And this is what some of you were: sexually immoral, idolaters, thieves, greedy, drunkards, verbal abusers, and swindlers. But you are now washed, justified, sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Another lady Marie (name changed) who is doing community service, has been drastically changed. Recently while doing some cleaning for us, a lady from the neighborhood stopped in asking for help. Marie recognized her from her street and prison days and said, “Patty?” Patty did not recognize Marie until Marie gave her street name. Patty said, “Wow. You are so different”. Then Marie said, “you look awful – you are still running aren’t you.” And Patty asked, “What happened”? And Marie said, “I found Jesus, I got my GED, I am working on getting my kids back and living with my dad who is helping to get me back on my feet. You ought to come to church”.
The before and after pictures are just incredible. Those who live enslaved by Satan look exhausted, beat up, confused, and hopeless. While those set free by Christ look alive, can look others in the eye – no more shame or condemnation and are working on a goal of self-improvement.
Another mother and daughter recently stopped in to say hi. What a joy to see Christ’s work in a person’s life. For these two who had been so far down – and by human terms, hopeless – what transformation. A miracle of God’s grace.
It is wonderful to have been in the community for 17 years – to see the before and after pictures of God at work. Often, we get consumed by the bad news of the day. Our outlook becomes jaded and cynical. The headlines seem to just drip with defeat and despair. Recently a friend said that it looked like God has abandoned us. But no God is continually at work – we just need to be “still” long enough to see it.
The headlines are not the best indicator of Gods activity. Devotional writer, Dennis Kinlaw, states it this way:
“At certain moments in history the curtain between this world and the next one parts. A person is confronted with God. When God comes with his grace, the glory is so great that the person’s life is changed forever, transformed, and all is different. One has only to think of Abraham, Moses, Peter, John, or Saul of Tarsus. What we know as holy history has resulted from such moments. All significant redemptive movements begin when God breaks through and speaks. And God desires to break through to every person. He wants to reveal himself to us.
In Psalm 84 God revealed himself and the writer could neither forget the experience nor get away from the impact it had on all areas of his life. It transformed all his relationships, and it left a hallowing touch on his view of places, people, and times. He met the Holy One, and therefore a whole succession of things in his life became sacred by association. What was formerly the driving passion and pursuit has been changed. The Psalmist says it best: “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2).
Have you had an encounter with the living God such that your life is transformed in every area? If you have not, he is waiting to meet you. I would love to hear some of your stories.
Recently, Wilson, who lived in our housing for Veterans, sang this song for our congregation
All My hope is in Jesus
I’m no stranger to the prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven (yes I have)
I’m not going back
I’ll never be the same ……. That’s why I sing…
All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God that yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood
Sometimes the road to health, healing and transformation can take many steps backward and forward. Pray for God to help us walk patiently with those in recovery even in their stumbling until they reach full health.
Progress in our building project.
- By partnering with the Maryvale church, up to 10 dormitory / parish housing units can be built on the church site without having to go through a costly re-zoning effort
- We are now entering the site planning phase and praying for help with site sketch
Thank you for standing with us in prayer as we seek God’s guidance in every step of the way.
Caleb Center Director
3201 N 51st Ave
Phoenix, Az 85031