What a beautiful day...

I'm sitting here with the sun streaming in our house and a wonderful breeze blowing in the windows...this is what makes us love Minnesota! We've entered the small but magnificent window of late spring. It's 65 and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Travis is riding his bike to work most days now and we are taking Ryley on long walks every night. What is it about spring that just makes me so happy? I feel very re-energized and movitated these days...I love it! I even love the great spring thunderstorms that have blown in. I forgot how terrible thunder and lightening can be! When you feel that rattle down to your bones, it leaves me in awe of our GREAT and POWERFUL God! Who is like Him?

"The Heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge..." Psalm 19:1-2

I have been so reminded lately of God's incredible power to change our lives. On Sunday we had the privilege of hosting the Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir at our church, for our spring Mission's Fesitival. We had no idea who they were or why we supported them as a church, so we were anxious to hear from them...however, we were not prepared for the overwhelming display of God's restorative power in the lives of some 400+ teens and adults. Unbelieveable. We heard testimonies of person after person telling us a similar story...their introduction to drugs or alcohol at a young age, mostly due to horrible living conditions and broken families, followed by their addictions to multiple things, their trouble with the law and their repeated failures in countless court-ordered rehabs. These kids were broken, without hope, physically devestated, emotionally distraught and raw from the continual cyle of pain in their lives and hearts. To make a long story short, they all were somehow introduced to Teen Challenge (which is a national program) where they were treated from the inside out, by learning about the Lord and what he did for each of them and what he offers them regardless of what they've done. They have accepted Jesus as their Savior, literally, and their lives have drastically changed. Some went through 8 and 9 previous rehabs with no success and then went through teen challenge and are currently walking miracles! It was amazing. At any given time there are 400-500 people enrolled in Minnesota Teen Challenge. The program is 12-18 months on average and the success rate is proven over and over.

We were speechless hearing individuals share where they've been and how a relationship with Jesus has changed their life. 400 men and women sang their hearts out, hands raised, and some with tears running down their faces.

One of the songs they sang was an old song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, called "This is What it Means to Be Free"...I keep hearing that song on the radio this week and I am amazed by the meaning of it. These are the words:

There is a wall that has been standing
Since the day that Adam fell
Sin is where it started
And Sin is why it held
Speakin as a prisoner
Who was there and lived to tell
I remember how it fell

I can here the sound of freedom
Like a distant voice who called
And beckon me to follow
Where i had never gone
And though my heart is willin'
I just stood there at the wall
Prayin somehow it would fall

But in a cross i found a doorway
And a hand that held a key
And when the chains fell at my feet
For the first time i could see

This is how it feels to be free
This is what it means to know that
I am forgiven
This is how it feels to be free
To see that life can be more than i imagined
This is how it feels to be free
This is how it feels to be free

There are days when i'm reminded
Of the prison i was in
Like a livin nightmare
Burning from the viel
I can feel the voice of evil
I can hear the call of sin
But i wont go back again

See, once i tasted freedom
Then the walls could bind no more
Since mercy gave me wings to fly
Like an eagle i can sore

repeat chorus

Somewhere there's a prison
Where the chains still burn
If not for the grace of god
Those walls could still be mine
So far all the captives are saved

repeat chorus

We sing that song with such emotional disconnect, but to hear 400 people who have been freed from addictions sing can imagine the power of the Lord was on our church. His name was being praised and His glory fell on all who were there...what a Sunday. You can argue a lot of things in life, but it's hard to argue with a changed life. Truly our God is great!

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