"We have found the opportunity through Inspiration Ministries to express not just our feelings but also the words that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts to share with others. I see I.M. as a channel of communication between the church...read more
July, Issue 7
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5Download
Letter from the Editor
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I believe the Bible to be true. I believe it to be inspired by God to enrich, edify, encourage, and lead people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. It was this verse and others that inspired me to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins in a jail cell over eight years ago. The promise of God is that if we will acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). As much as we want the Lord to wipe away our past from the history books, His assurance is that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, our sins will not be counted against us when it comes to our entrance into Heaven. What a glorious day that will be! Hallelujah!
I remember a time when I was leading a Bible study in prison with my brother Anthony. This was a time of great revival on our compound when men were hungering and thirsting for salvation and the word of God. We were talking about the idea of not wasting our lives, that our futures do not have to be dictated by our pasts. We knew that Jesus’ desire was to lead us into productive lives after our incarceration for His glory. Then one night, one of the men who attended the Bible study said, “Ya know, I don’t think I could ever go to a church if the pastor is a murderer or sex offender.” Anthony and I looked at each other, him in prison for 2nd degree murder and me for a sexual offense, and we were caught off guard. We shared our stories with him, and he said, “Well, I wasn’t talking about you guys, I was speaking in general.” It was probably around that time I started asking the Lord, “Are you sure it is me that you want to use? There are many more people to choose from who don’t have the hoops to jump through that I am going to face.” This was a tough time in my walk with Christ because Satan was trying to fill me with a great deal of fear.
Soon came a morning during my devotions when the Lord spoke to my heart. It was a defining moment that you pray about and then say, “Oh great.” afterwards. As I tried to explain to God other things I could do with my life, He directed me towards ministry and said, “If not you, then who?” If I am not willing to reach the least of these, who will? In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus shares very specific ways in which we are to reach the least of these. In fact, He goes to ascribe judgement on those who have not heeded the call. I don’t need to read these scriptures as a list of situations and people that we get to choose how to address. We can’t go on a campaign that proclaims, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled” (James 2:16) and not be willing to invest in men and women who are in need of salvation and tools that can help them be productive citizens.
The idea of the least of these is important to me and those involved in Inspiration Ministries because we have come to realize that we have all been there, separated from God because of our sin and our shame. There is no such thing as the good person separated from God by only ten feet and the bad person separated from God by an eternity. That is exactly why Jesus came, to destroy the works of the Devil and afford the opportunity of salvation to all that would call upon His name. When Jesus stretched His arms open wide on that cross, He didn’t deny His shed blood and redemption to liars, murderers, sex offenders, cheaters, felons, or really good people. He made the crimson cleansing available to all that would believe in Him and be granted eternal life. Thank you, Jesus.
So, Brothers and Sisters, we find ourselves in a season where we can only trust the Lord to prevail. With the purchase of the house to be used for transitional living, we have experienced resistance. The reality is that we are not going to defend that we made all the right moves. We are not here to proclaim that it is the best way. However, we are most definitely willing to communicate that we want to get better through this experience. In our 3½ years of service, we have not denied help to anybody. We don’t decide whether to help based on past offenses, but try to determine whether we can help people get to where they are going. Our prayer is that through their transition, they will experience Christ in a way that they will ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.
Unfortunately, what started out as a dispute about the house, has escalated to the point where people want to oust Inspiration Ministries all together, along with all the felons and sex offenders in our community. We are facing personal persecution as well. Words cannot describe the emotional rollercoaster that Kirsten and I have been on, especially in light of wanting to take the very best care of our daughter, LillyAnn. However, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and the Holy Spirit is the great comforter.
So, Inspiration Ministries is pressing on, praying to be led by the Spirit. We want to do our best to glorify the Lord, serve men and women in need, and serve our community. We don’t see those three objectives being separated, but being able to be accomplished together.
The crux of all this is that eventually the Spirit of God and the spirit of the world comes to a crossroads. It is going to be unavoidable and irreconcilable.
The world is going to proclaim: “People can’t change.” “People shouldn’t get a second chance.” “God is not willing to help these people.”
The Spirit of God proclaims: I can change people! I am a God of second chances and restoration! I sent my only Son to the cross, so that all would have the opportunity to experience salvation through Jesus Christ!
To be a Christian is to believe those promises from God. To speak over somebody their unworthiness to receive God’s free gift is potentially revealing that you do not have the Spirit of God dwelling inside of you. Jesus commissioned us to reach all people, including the least of these.
I recently spoke with my brother Anthony on the phone, and he shared something with me. At chapel he picked up a pamphlet by Dr. David Jeremiah called REVOLUTION. Jeremiah describes revolution as, “Change that meets resistance.” In light of our circumstances, we believe that the Holy Spirit is confirming that we are doing a good work for the Kingdom. That good work has nothing to do with houses and programming; it has to do with our desire reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that God can turn moments of transition into times of transformation. Our commitment as a ministry is that we are going to keep getting better with the mission in which He has called us. So, please be in prayer as we submit to the Lord our physical circumstances and look for refreshed vision. His desire is to draw people into relationship with Him, and we want to be a conduit for that work.
And as the Lord so graciously does for Inspiration Ministries, we got to see two more added to the Kingdom of God. This past Monday, Willus walked into our door with his own need, but realized quickly that He needed the Lord to be first in his life. We talked about this concept of “giving our lives to God” and I got to share what that means to me in my relationship with Christ, knowing that He has made things new in my life, revived my spirit, and gave my dead life breath. Willus looked at me and said, “I haven’t experienced THAT!” That day he did. Similarly, after my brother Joe Congleton preached last Thursday about the grace of God and the salvation in Jesus, Dre came forward to publicly announce that he needed that kind of grace in his life. He made a commitment to Jesus with people around him promising to help him grow in Christ. It is in those times where we find ourselves humbly submitting to the fact that the ministry is all about people. It is about transformed lives.
So, hang with us, Folks, as we move in the direction of the Lord. We covet your prayers and care for us. I pray that we never lose sight of the fact that we are in this together. This is about the testimony of the Lord. This is for His glory. Things and people change, but the Lord is steadfast and unchangeable. We are relying on Him for fresh vision, new provision, and a supernatural Spirit to respond in a way that would please Him.
Let us be Christians that exemplify courage to take steps in service to our King, but also humble hearts to know that His ways are always better than our ways. How can we most glorify God by our actions and our attitudes! In the midst of circumstances, I believe the Lord wants to bring restoration. I am trusting the Lord for an outcome that is miraculous and supernatural.
Let’s be on the revival train that is transforming people, communities, and churches. Let’s function as the body of Christ on both sides of the wall, in intercession for one another, and carrying each other’s burdens. Blessings as you pursue Christ like never before.
Inspired by the Son!
Andrew L. Foster Inspiration Ministries, Director