am·pli·fy - /ˈampləˌfī/ - verb
"to increase the volume of (sound), especially using an amplifier."
Every Tuesday night, we hang out with teenagers at an outreach event we call Amplify. The point of every relationship, every event, every dollar spent, and every moment is to Amplify the name of Jesus and Amplify the love of God. We pray that as we turn up the volume each Tuesday night and every day of the week, the Lord opens the ears of our kids to hear and the Spirit moves in their lives to experience His love.
GOD IS MOVING
It has been a joy of mine to watch a single mom of four experience the Gospel over the past month. One day on her front porch, she expressed to me that she felt like a failure. Every time she tried to fix her problems, she ended up more discouraged than when she started.
I told her that I often feel the same way, conveying that although I may look and sometimes, regretfully act like I have it all together, I am not perfect. I explained how pride and loving my wife well seem like a mountain that I am unable to move, but God is giving me the strength and showing me the love needed to experience victory.
This single mom needed to make-up a huge amount of community service and started to serve at our Tuesday night outreach, Amplify. On her first night, she decided to stay for the message even though she was uncomfortable. The floor was opened up for kids to ask any question they had about God, the Bible, or life experiences. Secretly, she had an LXI kid ask some deep questions that she had been holding back for a long time.
When she asked why is life so hard I was able to say yes, life is hard, but Jesus is the good news that makes all the difference. That night she cried with me, and opened up about all of the junk she had been holding inside.. I affirmed and reaffirmed that God still loves her and desires to have a relationship with her. That night she cried out to Him, and the next day she explained that something different was going on inside of her.
In the next two weeks, she had served on four different occasions to try and make up for her community service hours. In a Johnson City Housing meeting, I learned she qualified for a new exemption where she would not have to complete the community service hours. I was so excited to share this with her because these hours were holding her back from getting her GED and eventually, a sustainable job. The first thing she said after cheering about the good news was she wanted to continue to serve at LXI! God showed up in a real way, answering prayers in response to her faith.
As I thought about her response, I was blown away by how this served as a beautiful picture of the Gospel. She once was held accountable by legal obligation to serve, but through experiencing grace, serving is now a desire that overflows from her heart! I explained this to her one evening and she grinned from ear to ear as she said, “I get it!”
These are the words that I hope every person who comes through LXI says at some point in their life. The only way people are going to understand God’s love is if He makes it real to them! It is not about us saying the right things or responding in the right way. Rather, we must faithfully show up and pray for God to show up even more! He is the one who has the power to transform lives!
At LXI, we hope to develop a culture that is reliant on God to move! This is what we pray for as we continue to walk alongside young people and their families. Just like us, this single mom has a long road of redemption ahead, but through the journey she can be sure of two things:
We will be there to support and remind her of God’s love. And God will always be there to help and give her the confidence to walk through and overcome life’s struggles as He makes her more like Himself!
On a Tuesday night, I huddled with a group of middle school girls in a circle at the top of the fort on a playground. After the message that night, my group was answering the question, “How am I not okay?”
Our small group started with surface level answers and joking, and I honestly did not expect our time to be fruitful. But God was moving in the heart of one girl to open up and share her hurts and fears.
“My dad left when I was three…and I am not okay.”
And then I listened as every single girl in my group shared their father was gone. Some dads were gone from the beginning, some were in jail, and some just came and left their kids’ lives as they pleased. In our circle, we held hands and together, we cried.
That night I was able to share the hope that God offers us. He is Emmanual, God with us. He is our good and perfect Father. He is our ever-present help in our times of trouble. Our brokenness opens the door for us to experience God’s healing.
One of the girls later posted about that night on Facebook. She said, “It was hard. Some of the stories I heard tonight were very heart breaking, a lot of people were in tears. But God was with us through it all. Just wanted to put the that out there.”
Though these girls’ earthly fathers have left them, they will never be alone. The God of the universe is with us; He is here. We pray that every kid we encounter through LXI encounters the presence of their true Father and His love for them.
PRAY WITH US
Thank you for giving! We are halfway to our monthly financial need for LXI. Please continue to pray for God to provide what we need each month, for new relationships to be formed, and for God to move in hearts to give to the mission of Isaiah 61.
Pray for God to move holistically in the lives of the kids and families that we walk with daily. Pray for this generation to be made new through a relationship with the Creator of the world. Pray for their hearts, schools, homes, emotional pain, future, relationships, and communities.
Pray that our teams of staff, leaders, and volunteers will be unified with one heart and one mind. Pray that in humility, we will consider others better than ourselves. Pray for us to serve through transparency and grace.
HOW TO GIVE
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Po Box 1784
Johnson City, TN 37605
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