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Church at the Place 
"... there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!" Luke 15:7
As a family, we feel that this verse keeps us rooted to our calling as full-time missionaries to unchurched, at-risk teenagers here in Kentucky. A big part of our calling is as spiritual mothers and fathers to lost young people, leaving the 99 to find the 1, and then helping them center every area of their lives on Jesus. We want to make disciples who make disciples who start simple churches. Thanks for partnering with us! If you want to learn more about our story, our simple churches, and how we are trying to follow Jesus, check out this link!
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Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 
Romans 12:10
What's God been teaching us?

Focusing on the Few
God continues to bring broken people into our lives as we make ourselves available to him. There are many needs around us, but our goal is to stay focused on the few people that God draws to us and to work where Jesus is working. If we can raise up a handful of leaders who will break the generational curses in their families, raise their children in the knowledge of Jesus, and multiply their faith, we will have spent our time wisely. The reality of our church and ministry (and personally following Jesus) is that it is more typically a daily grind of obedience and openness to the Holy Spirit than it is an emotional mountain top of worship and baptisms. It's like family life, not everything is birthday parties and thanksgiving, a lot of it is doing what needs to be done: cleaning the bathroom, feeding the dog, and doing laundry, together. We long to see salvation's and  baptisms, but our peace comes from the eternal value in our daily opportunities to hang out, speak truth, listen to heartache, and pray. We continue coming back to the idea of doing what we know to do: opening up our home, being consistent in our relationships, making space for people to respond to what Jesus is doing in and around them, making disciples one conversation at a time. There is a lot of freedom in this and we have to fight to keep things simple and not overthink.  We deal with a lot of addiction, poverty, evictions, arrests, and demonic oppression. It's easy to get caught up in trying to save everyone and put out fires instead of being faithful to raising up leaders who can change whole generations. We look for opportunities to do good to whoever, wherever, whenever, but we want to keep relationships as our primary focus. We're sticking to Jesus' mission, and his method.

We have been trying to face the reality of sin head on and that has led to some tough but good conversations. One thing we are learning is that confessed sin leads to revival. This past week in our simple church we used four questions to check the pulse of our faith and our relationship with God.

1. How's your relationship with God? What's one word to describe it this week?
2. What are you doing to allow the Holy Spirit to make you more like Jesus?
3. What opportunities have you had to serve God and be a witness this week?
4. What temptations have you faced and how have you overcome them?

These questions led to some great sharing and new intimacy with Jesus and with each other. Our hope is to continue creating a culture of vulnerability and accountability in our church, just like with our own children. We don't have specific expectations for what we want our people to be or do, we just want to walk with them and see them becoming more like Jesus in every area of their lives. 

I was encouraged and reminded of our calling this week as I stood out in my front yard talking with a young man for two hours on Sunday night after our church gathering. He has been a follower of Jesus for over a year and has a lot of leadership potential. As he talked about his past struggles with temptation, isolation, shame, and suicidal thoughts, he said "I'm just broken man, I really am."
I looked at him and said, "I know, that's why you're with us."
Then I shared with him that God had specifically called us to make space in our lives. To open our home and our lives to people who are broken, hurting, unchurched, and at risk of never knowing Jesus or his family.
He said, "I know man, I'm so thankful for you because you have no idea what this means to me, being able to come here every week. It gets me through the darkness that I live in and it has really started to transform my life. I want to let you all in more than just on Sunday's for a few hours, you're like my family. I've been praying for this exact thing and people for over a year and I had no idea it existed right down the street from me. I know this sounds crazy, but I think I could lead something like this eventually."
His words really encouraged me. Make space in your life. God is so big, so in control, so loving, so available...he'll use you if you let him.

If you have prayed for us or given financially or encouraged us in any way, you are changing lives and breaking generational curses by helping us to be available to hurting, broken people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Details...

If you are a person that likes to know the tangible details of what's actually happening, here are some specifics for you!
  • Our Wednesday night church gatherings continue to be pretty awesome. We see new faces each and every week, most of whom are hearing the gospel for the first time in a way they can understand, but the core of the church is really deepening and becoming an extended family centered on Jesus. This group is primarily teenagers from the Providence School with a core of young adults mixed in, although we have students from all over our county. Wednesday is an extended time of unstructured space to build relationships, play music, and be in a positive environment. It usually goes from mid-afternoon until 8:30 pm. From 6:45-8 we have a time of worship and teaching, we would love for you to pray for us during this time each week. 
  • We gather for church at our house on Sunday afternoons/evenings with a growing group of young people, our family, and another family with young boys. It's been fun to see the teenagers and young adults interacting and playing games and music with the kids. We share a meal, take communion, play every kind of music from rock to classic hymns, teach the Bible, and act silly.
  • Kaleb continues coaching after school basketball at Providence. With the season actually ending the group is down to about 5 students. With the smaller group the atmosphere is really relaxed and more of structured hang out time. The students are really becoming a tight group. 
  • We have one-on-one or one-on-two Bible study/accountability groups every weekday with young adults 18-26 right now!

Please Pray!

Here are some specific things you can pray for this month:
  • One of the families in our church was evicted from their home this week and forced to split up and move to another town. We were able to provide some support but please pray for God to give them stability and peace during this transition.
  • Several of our young men (18-22) need jobs.
  • One of the guys in our church dropped out of high school this month and moved out of his parents house, pray for God to break into his life and lead him and that we would have wisdom as we interact with him. 
  • We are working towards a spiritual retreat this spring, prayers for clarity on how best to do this and resources to make it happen.
  • Preparing for new opportunities over the summer to keep young people from being idle.
  • More salvation's, more baptisms, more lost children coming home.
  • We have several people beginning to feel the burden to reach their family and friends for Christ and we are asking God to lead them.
  • Health for our family.
  • Consistency for several accountability groups we have meeting.
  • Financial provision for our family.

Celebrations!
  • Kate miraculously found $55 dollars in my old copy of Catcher In the Rye that she needed to go to a home-school conference in April, thanks God!.
  • A family donated 15 bibles to us this month to use in our ministry!
  • We were able to help pay a water bill and help with moving costs for two different families this month, pretty awesome. 
  • We are seeing an Acts 2 church kind of generosity among our believers, sharing possessions, clothes, and giving as people have needs. You can't make this stuff up. 
  • Our needs are being met! We want to be very transparent about our finances because we continue to live completely on faith in God's purpose and provision for us.  Right now, we have $1300 in pledged monthly support through our non-profit covering, Global Service Network. We have also received several one-time gifts over the last two months that have enabled us to meet all of our needs! Thank you! If God is leading you to support us monthly or with a one-time gift you can click on the Logo below to access our giving page. 
 
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
Here's a short testimony from Chris, the first person who came to Christ through our ministry.
"One of the most valuable things I've learned from being part of the church at the Place is that God comes to you. My preconception of God that kept me from trying to build a relationship with him sooner was that I had to earn God's love and that I had to change before he would be a part of my life. I never realized that the only way to make that change is through him and that he extends the invitation to anyone who's willing to take it. It's so interesting watching the different generations in our church interact. While the older ones try to relay the message of God to the younger ones, we sympathize with them and also grow through seeing the expansion of our fellowship. My experiences in simple church have undoubtedly changed my life for the better, and I will never be the same. But then again, who wants to?"
Sunday Night Haircuts!
Would you consider joining us as a monthly supporter or make a one-time donation to help us continue to be full-time missionaries to at-risk teenagers and young adults in Jessamine County?  We are praying for a base of partners to help us make space for lost young people to hear about Jesus, and to continue to make disciples of unreached people.  If you are moved to join us you can connect to our non-profit giving page by clicking here or on the Global Service Network Logo!
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