Roger and I had attended The Truth Project conference this past weekend in Edmonton, AB at Northe Point Community Church. It was absolutely fantastic! There were over 800 people in attendance - it was sold out. The conference ran Friday night and Saturday all day. We came away so blessed and on fire and very excited to get back home to share it with our church, our community and others around us. It transformed our minds and opened our eyes to the lies that have been fed into our brain for a long time. We thank God for this mighty tool that He's going to use to bring truth to the lost souls in our world. There's so many things that I have struggled with in my heart for so long and this conference brought so much light into those confusing matters of my heart. The issue all along was "What Am I to Believe?? God or the world? Why do I believe what I believe? And how do I know that what I believe is really real and is really what I am to believe?" Those were deep, deep questions. WOW! It was a very full, impacting, thought-provoking 2 days. God was doing a might work in the hearts of everyone there.
The sunrise on Saturday morning was spectacular. With the three crosses standing outside on the church grounds, it was such a truthful reminder that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." He is the only way to God, to salvation, to eternal life. Thank you God for providing such a solid way for us to life eternally with you. It isn't anything to question or be confused about. God's message of salvation is so simple and easy but our doubts, and the lies that are fed to us confuse us so much.
WHAT IS TRUTH? was the ultimate question this weekend. What is truth? We have gone so far away from that, we hardly know what absolute truth is anymore. In a Barna Study that this project had done, those statistics showed that only a whopping 9% of Born Again Believers believe in absolute truth! That shocked us greatly! That is so scary!! What is happening to God's people?? Our world has so de-conformed our minds that we don't even know what is absolutely true and what is absolutely false anymore?? Where has the truth gone?? The world/our culture around us has filled us with so many lies, that our minds have conformed to that. The Scriptures tell us that "the truth shall set us free" and that "we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds." So, Focus on the Family have put out an incredible project called The Truth Project http://www.thetruthproject.org - you can check out their website and view their trailers. The also have a blog - http://www.truthprojectblog.com and the speaker, Del Tacket, also has a blog http://www.deltackett.com It's definitely worth it to check those out.
Our last session on Saturday, the speaker, Del Tacket, shared the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible. Then he asked "Who is our/your neighbor?" Who is our neighbor? It is the lost, the lonely, the outcast, the sick, the poor, the difficult, the dying, the unacceptable... and what are we to do in reaching those lost souls for Christ? Lots of food for thought as we left filled, refreshed and ready to do great work for God. :-) Who is my neighbor Lord? Who do you want me/us to reach out to, to bring hope to, to show the love of God to? Roger & I had lots to talk about as we began our drive home.
So, we're about an hour and a half from Edmonton and we pass a hitchhiker on the side of the road, it's completely dark so he really scared us by standing there on the side of the road with his thumb out. We go whizzing past, but look at each other discussing what that would mean to us and what are we to do. He took us so by surprise out there in the dark. Well, neither of us felt right just driving past him there but we were totally uncomfortable about picking him up too. Thus comes the great dilema. Are we to be a Good Samaritan or not? Who is our neighbor? Well, we've driven a long way already and have not picked him up. It doesn't make us feel good. So, silently I tell the Lord that if we see him again, we'd pick him up, not telling Roger what I had just told the Lord. I mean, come one, really, I thought, what are the chances of that, of passing him again? Maybe that was my little test for God. I don't know.
So, we stop at Lloyd for supper at 8 pm and got back on the road at 9 pm. Sure enough, just outside of Lloyd, there's the same hitchhiker. Okay Lord, here's the big test. Will we pick him up or not? We drive by and discussed again what are we to do? I quietly told Roger what I had told the Lord and his response was, "You did, hey?" :-) We kept driving in silence and Roger finally says, "Kinda feels bad when you don't do something that you said you'd do, hey?" I said, "Yep." So, we continue on, it's raining/snowing out, visibility wasn't the greatest, it's windy, cold and foggy. It was about 20 km later that Roger silently turned the van around and we backtracked back to Lloyd. There was the hitchhiker, waiting on the side of the road. He was a native man wanting to go to Saskatoon to see two of his sons that lived in the area. The older son, he told us, was a working man but lived to get money for the next high. He continually did drugs - his wife had tried to fix him but to no avail and now they both got high together on a continual basis. They have 3 young teenage kids who've too many times their parents being high on drugs or drunk. "Alvin's" other son is also a young teenage and lives with his grandma and is angry that "Alvin" doesn't live with them. "Alvin" tells us that he drank for 25 years and no longer wants that lifestyle. He'd been dry for 4-8 months and even after a friend offered to pay him $100.00 to sit and drink with him, he did not have a drink and chose to run away. "Alvin" had just been in Edmonton to attend a funeral of a young man who shot himself, committed suicide. "Alvin" shared about his family with us - a number of his family members had already passed on, including his parents - some from cancer others from suicide. He has kids across AB and SK - and many of them are on drugs or alcohol or both. He was wanting to spend Christmas with his daughter on a reserve in Northern SK. As we listened to praise and worship music, "Alvin" was thankful for the warmth and the shelter from the wind, the rest - his legs and feet were weary from all the walking he'd done. He was thankful for the food and water we gave him, the visiting and the chance to listen to some Jesus music. :-) He shared how he'd been praying on the side of the road that God would send someone to pick him up for a ride. He had left Edmonton at 12:30 pm and it was now almost 10 pm. "Alvin" told us that he was workin on doin what his mama had been doing when he was young - talkin to Jesus and readin his Bible. He didn't want the booze anymore, he just wanted Jesus.
It brought tears to our eyes. God humbled us, made us really think about things we had learned at the conference. Who is my neighbor?? "ALvin" was my neighbor and God sent him to us for a test of our faith. God showed us many things through "Alvin" and we will be eternally grateful for that experience, we will never forget it.
Oh God, that we would be in tune with your Spirit and allow You to guide our days and each of our steps. That our eyes would be opened to the hurting around us and that we would be quick to reach out to those who you put in our path. Be with "Alvin" and his family Lord, that they would all come to a deep relationship with You God. Deliver them Father from the strong holds of the lies that the alcohol and drug demons have consumed their souls with. Deliver them Lord! Help "Alvin" to be strong and to have courage and to continue to desperately pursue talkin to Jesus and readin his Bible. Thank You God for "Alvin." Give his family and his people all a hunger and a thirst for Your Truth, Your Love, Your fulfillment, Your Power. Nothing else in this world will ever, ever fill us as much as You will Lord. Oh that we would all seek the High of the Most High God, who is the best High and the safest High. Thank you God! Amen.
***Please note: all the photographs in this section taken by Tony Ruffo from Edmonton, AB (email@example.com) who God put in my path to meet with and talk photography :-) and who was kind enough to email these photos so that I could share them with you all. Can you believe it...I had not brought my camera along on that trip. :-) But God is good - he sent me Tony. Thank you Tony.