Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stories From The Trenches 2

Blaine is a man responsive to God. He listens and obeys. Simple. He allows God to manifest Himself and His purposes. He lets God be God. Organic. He reaches out to people in every context of his life to introduce Jesus, and enters into their lives as someone who cares. Missional.

A few years ago he and his wife sold their large 2,400 sq ft. home on 10 acres, and purchased a fourplex in a lower middle class neighborhood. They gave away what wouldn't fit into a small two bedroom 750 sq ft apartment (one of those in the fourplex), and moved in. Their hope was that the remaining 3 apartments would be used for ministry. Over the years many struggling people have lived for free, or subsidized by Blaine and Glenna. These various tenants have heard the gospel and seen it lived out in and through this faithful couple. They have been valued, listened to, prayed for, fatherly counseled, helped with finances, car troubles, relationships, drug abuse, mental illness, and more. All the messes that come with peoples broken lives, does not deter Blaine. His ability to love, extend mercy when needed, have incredible patience and perseverance with people, is evidence of The Spirit working incredible grace through him. People recognize it and respond to it. He prays with people and the problems that they are facing in life, giving Christ an opportunity to reveal Himself. He is a true shepherd. And he lives experiencing God move powerfully and strategically in the lives of people.

Let me tell you a couple stories.

Blaine gets his hair cut about every 4 weeks. He has one hairdresser that he purposely chooses to use, and has built a friendship with her over the years. One day, she was obviously sad and even started crying into his hair as she was cutting it. Blaine asked what was going on, and soon she was sharing with him about her daughter. Her daughter had been alienated from her for a long time and the longing to know she was okay was overwhelming her that day. Blaine said; "God knows where she is and He understands you want to know also. He understands your love for her." He said; "Let's pray and ask God to show you she is okay".
Blaine prayed while she cut, and as she was finishing up, a commotion in the doorway drew their attention. The very daughter they were just talking about, and Blaine had prayed for, came walking in through the door. The mother, awestruck said; "you won't believe who just walked in the door!", and ran to greet her daughter.

Want another?

After many months of coming alongside this young man, Shaun called Blaine to receive Christ. He then wanted to be baptized. Blaine encouraged him to invite someone to support him in his baptism and to be a witness to it. Antsy to be baptized, Shaun moved quickly and found someone who volunteered an apartment building pool. This offer however, quickly was withdrawn when the building host saw some rough looking, and not all sober, people outside the doors of the apartment waiting to get in for the baptism. Shaun had invited 18 friends from his old life to be his witnesses and they were eager to see Shaun get baptized, even though they didn't have a clue why.
Not allowed in building, they were all standing together on the sidewalk, and one of the invited guests said; "I know someone who manages another building and we can go over there!" It was a call for "party on!" and they all quickly left for the new destination. Blaine, a bit concerned with this new direction of events began to pray; "What is going on Lord with all this, and what do you want me to see? "
As they arrived at the new apartment pool, these street guys, who Blaine describes as "a little rough and rude" took over the pool, kicking out previous users making it ready for their friend Shaun and his baptism. As Blaine entered the pool and looked around at those who Shaun had invited to be his witness's, God answered Blaine's earlier question; " these are my sons that have not received me yet". They listened to Shaun's testimony to Christ in his life and watched him be baptized into a new life. They even toasted to it! Now, that was a baptism!

One more story.....

Blaine and his daughter Shera, were sitting in a coffee shop with some of her friends who had gathered together that evening to hang out. In a short time, the conversation turned to issues related to faith, Jesus and the existence of God. Blaine and Shera found themselves in the midst of answering questions and discussing issues that the girls brought up. One girl said "my parents don't know this Jesus, and I wish my sister would know Him." Blaine replied; " we have authority and can pray with assurance and He will show Himself to your sister. Why don't you ask Him right now to reach your sister? " The girl prayed a simple request and at that moment the sister herself walked into the coffee shop. This is the reality of the God we serve, He waits for us to ask Him to get involved!

I think Blaine is living in the reality of his faith, and that God Himself wants eagerly to respond to our requests that others would know Him!

Blaine and Glenna have started many simple churches over the years.
One of their simple churches was with a group of developmentally disabled adults, and they would both say it was the most precious of fellowships.
Blaine begins LTG's (Life Transformation Groups, cmaresources.org) regularly with guys he leads to Christ. He isn't the hub of the wheel however, and quickly has them forming their own groups.
He works with a Recovery Ministry leading a group of pre and new Christians into wholeness and life in Christ. He has recently joined with a local guy who functions in evangelism and is bringing the needed discipleship aspect to that ministry, getting the new Christians into simple fellowships for their growth and maturing.

All this, and he still manages to work a full time job on the side, and have valve replacement surgery on his heart! God has given him a stronger heart physically to keep up with his spiritual heart! What a man, what a friend, what an inspiration! Go Blaine go! May your impact increase!

'But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.
1 Samuel 2:34-36

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