Karla and I recently were able to host two longtime friends who helped lead a simple church here in Lexington several years ago. While their jobs have led them out of state, they have remained an important part of our extended family of faith. I was so encouraged by a follow up email I received from Joy that I asked if she would consider editing it to sharing here on this site! May it encourage you as well…
We had a wonderful time with Gavin and Karla and their kids on Sunday and are so grateful for the connections God forged for us in Lexington KY. We’ll be part of the same family for all eternity!
We had a blessed, divine appointment on Monday morning, and it began with memories of our simple church meeting at 3rd St Cafe (also divinely appointed), so I wanted to include you all in this retelling.
When we lived in Lexington, there was more than one really good donut place to go to, and I’ve been a little disappointed since then to have never found a donut shop as good as the ones I used to frequent there. So when Dirk asked if there was any place I wanted to go while we were visiting, I said, “I just want a good donut!”
After lunch on Sunday, we swung by one of our old standbys, North Lime Coffee and Donuts, and one of the only shops open that late on a Sunday. I got Hope out of the car and went up to the door. Locked. The note read, “Closing early today at 1.” It was 1:06. I was ticked off. Back in the car we went, and Dirk assured me we’d get a donut the next morning.
Sooo…the next morning, we tried the “new” North Lime shop closer to Gavin and Karla. I got a maple bacon and Dirk got a chocolate sprinkle donut. 🙂 The donuts and coffee were exactly as I remembered them!
No sooner had we sat down, than I heard someone at the table next to us say “spiritual warfare.” I looked over and saw three folks and a Bible, and I smiled. It so reminded me of the many talks we had at 3rd St, and I thought, they’re having church! I pulled up my chair and asked if I could join in.
It was clear there was one guy, Mike, in a teaching role. He looked surprised but welcomed me in. Next to him, a college-age gal, Emma, had her tablet open to Ephesians 6. I said, “The full armour of God! I’ve been praying through that every day. We have to be ready for battle!” They went on to explain that she had recently come to Christ through her friend, Angela, who was across the table, but she was suffering from nightmares, thus, the spiritual warfare teaching.
At this point, I asked Dirk, who was graciously taking care of Hope, to get a bracelet I had purchased that weeked out of the car and bring it inside. In the meantime, I started talking about how I’d been praying about the authority God has given us and what that means. I went on for a bit talking about Jesus’ ministry and the authority he modeled and taught, and Angela nodded at Mike “You’re speaking his language!”
When Dirk came back, I handed Emma the bracelet that read: GREATER THAN IMAGINATION. “I want you to have this, and let me read you the scripture in Ephesians that I was reminded of when I saw it.” I read her Eph 3: 14-21. Verse 20 reads, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (in the NIV). What’s this power? That we may “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
When I finished, Mike, who had at first been surprised when I joined them and clearly more surprised when I started teaching the Word, had a look of utter amazement on his face. “That’s exactly the scripture I’m teaching this Sunday.” Ha! God confirms his Word!…and affirms our faith…and lets his new little lamb know she is dearly loved… so much so that He orchestrated every detail, so we all know a little more of the width, length, heighth, and depth of his love – from the purchase of a simple bracelet, to what a brother shared the night before, and even, as Dirk reminded me, the annoyance of a donut shop closing unexpectedly early.
I want to exhort you, saints, to wake up each morning ready for the good works the Lord has for you (Eph 2:10)! Put on the full armor of God. In Ephesians 6:14-18, this begins with girding your loins with the belt of truth and is completed with praying in the Spirit on all occasions.
“Gird your loins” is not an expression that we hear often today!! “Gird” is translated from a Greek verb meaning dressed in readiness, generally for active work or travel. In Paul’s day, when someone girded their loins with a belt, they tucked their robes into a wide belt so they could easily move and work. Jesus used the same verb when he taught us what to do as we watch for his return. “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,” Luke 12:35 (NIV).
In Ephesians 6: 10-13, we learn why we need the full armor of God – we’re engaged in a spiritual war! Prayer is not an option, it’s a critical component of a victorious advance! This is why Paul ends this teaching with a battle call to prayer – “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints,” (ESV)
This passage is quite literally action-packed. Recently, I have been waking up in the mornings to this action call, and the Spirit has opened doors and made connections for his glory and purpose as I go about my simple daily activities, like walking the dog, shopping, or waiting in line. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to persevere in this call. Let us encourage one another (Eph. 5:5-11) as we give glory to God for his mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).
*Some names were changed in this retelling.