Archive | June 2012

Now is the only time we are given.

June Update Letter Part 3 of 4.

Now is the only time we are given.

Right now we are making significant headway on the house. Once the pluming is completed I will be finishing up the second bathroom we are adding in the master bedroom. This will be a great step toward being able to host people in need. Allowing them and us to have our own bathroom spaces will be a blessing for all of us. Since the existing plumbing had to be redone anyway, this was perfect timing. I will be very busy over the next month as the remodeling moves forward at a fast pace. I have also ordered 16 new windows to help with the windy winters. Our existing windows were neglected over the years and have become extremely drafty in spite of our efforts to remedy them. We also had central air installed for the sake of the people we will be hosting and for the regular group meetings and Prayer Resolution sessions we are having in our house now.

Immerse, the discipleship program I have started through Substance Church, is well underway now. God was amazingly faithful to provide the perfect people as our “disciples” and is bringing together some amazing spiritual leaders to teach on different topics. So far I have taught on prayer and forgiveness. We have also had others teach on identity and living under authority. I have really enjoyed teaching and have entertained thoughts of continuing to teach in other spiritual venues moving forward. Including the man who I was discipling before Immerse started, I am discipling four different men now. Amy, Michelle’s good friend and our roommate, is discipling the 3 women in Immerse. I can already see that these men will be well prepared to start discipling their own group of men soon (and so will the women whom Amy is focusing on). Now that we have taught on forgiveness we will be scheduling a Prayer Resolution session with each of them so that they can receive resolution for an aspect of their lives and will also be able to put into practice the forgiveness model we have taught them.

At Substance Church, Michelle and I continue to serve as Captains of the prayer team for the Saturday night service. We are constantly humbled by the amazing opportunity to speak blessings into people’s lives and help them to connect for further support. There are always new prayer team members joining whom we are responsible for training and empowering. We are also helping to develop official training lessons for the church wide prayer teams as we continue to develop and improve on the prayer team structure.

In regards to our Prayer Resolution ministry, I am currently finishing up going through the life of a younger man who is intent on being healthy so that he can be a blessing to the rest of the church community. It’s an honor to work with someone whose heart is set on serving the body of Christ. I have also been accumulating different stories from my own experiences with PR as a Safe Other so that I will be better equipped when I start doing more teaching on PR (God willing). It was a wonderful refresher to see the faithfulness of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to carry me through some difficult issues in people’s lives, bringing them to a place of full resolution and healing. Here is a story of God’s work:

Jill was the family’s Cinderella. She did all the work around the house. Her dad didn’t know how to act around girls, so she was discarded. He was very closed off emotionally, and she never heard him say, “I love you.” Instead she heard him say, “Oh look, I have another son,” after she came home from an already traumatic trip to a barber. Her step-mom had had all her hair cut off. Her mom didn’t know how to raise a girl either and through many subtle and not-so-subtle actions & words gave her the message, “It’s not okay to be a girl.” Her dad’s lack of affection and powerful words strongly reinforced that lie. In fact, she felt like she never belonged, even in her own family. She was now much older, but still lived in that pain. She still didn’t feel like she belonged and had developed the idea, subconsciously, that the only place it was okay to be a girl was in the bedroom. Everywhere else, she had to be “manly” in order to have any level of acceptance and to protect herself from abuse.

After accusing and forgiving the people who had taught her this lie, she rejected the lie that she was not acceptable as a girl and asked her heavenly Father to give her a truth.

She saw a massive, ancient, leather bound book lying open in front of her. The pages were turning. She loved books from the time she was very young. She saw the book close and her heavenly Father’s hand resting on top of it. She realized that she had not been living what He had written in the book and that she needed to stop living her own fairy tale and live according to his truth. Her heavenly Father spoke this truth to her, “You are who you are supposed to be.” Finally she felt like it was okay to be a girl, because that was how her Father had written her story.

Community

Let me know if you would like to sit down and talk about how awesome our God is. I would love to grab coffee with you. If you would like to learn more about our ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It would also be encouraging to hear about what God is doing in your own life! Please feel free to find either one of us on Facebook, e-mail us, or call us.

If you feel like God wants you to give to support what we are doing, we have a way where you can give a tax-deductible gift. Contact us for details.

Nathan & Michelle Banker

1236 Upton Ave N

Minneapolis, MN 55411

Nathan.banker@gmail.com

952-215-7896

Proverbs Fulfilled

June Update Letter Part 2 of 4

Proverbs Fulfilled

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his catch. “How long did it take you to get those?” he asked.

“Not so long,” said the Mexican.

“Then why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was quite enough to meet his needs and feed his family.

“So what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the American.

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evening, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted. “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the bigger boat will bring, you can buy a second boat and then a third boat, and then more until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants. Pretty soon you could open your own plant. You could leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York! From there you could direct your whole enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty — perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well, my friend,” laughed the American, “that’s when it gets really interesting. When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a beautiful place near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take siestas with your wife and spend your evenings drinking, playing the guitar and enjoying your friends.”

Hind-sight is best when life is beautiful

June Update Letter Part 1 of 4

Hind-sight is best when life is beautiful

I’m convinced that sometimes the best way to have faith is to do nothing… not on your own behalf anyway. Trusting God can be nearly impossible when you are trusting in everything else. Your income, your insurance, your talents, your connections, your work ethic, your savings, your intellect; all these things share one thing in common: you.

Six months ago I returned from my deployment to the Middle East. I came back refreshed, fired up, and ready for a brand new life. I had resigned from my job and was ready to do ministry vocationally. As far as I could see, God had called me to use our savings to fix up our house to be used as a place of ministry. Soon we were tearing into our walls and ceilings, gutting out rooms, re-insulating, and running new wiring everywhere. Things seemed to slow down pretty quickly after our first burst of energy. The biggest “hindrance” was that I felt like I was not supposed to go out searching for a plumber to fix the mess-of-a-plumbing-job that hung above our living room, occasionally leaking down on our mantel or carpet. Being that we are new to this life of faith, we needed to know that God himself could answer our prayers on his own. I needed to know that I could go to God my Father with my needs and that he was powerful to answer on my behalf. And so… I waited and prayed. That was six months ago. I didn’t do this alone, I found people who would pray with me, whom I could trust to not go searching for answers on their own, but would stand with me as we sought out our heavenly Father, the source of all answers.

Waiting is horrific. It is difficult and leaves you in a place of helplessness and an itch to DO SOMETHING! Anything! I kept myself busy doing other work on the house. We converted the no-season porch into a mudroom, insulating it and installing new windows and a new front door. I also got to try my hand at doing stucco for the first time! Meanwhile our living room sat in shambles. We did our best to make it livable. We brought all the furniture back in, put the pictures up on the mantel again, and became content with living in a room that had open framing, exposed plumbing and almost no sound barrier between the living room and master bedroom above it.

Months went by and still we prayed and waited, begging God to send us a plumber. We didn’t really know what that would look like. Would a plumber just show up at our door saying he had received a vision from God with our names and address? God knows I was hoping for that! Or would I randomly meet a plumber who was looking for work? I just didn’t know. The point was that I was not going to go hunt down a plumber on my own, but wait for God’s timing and provision.

In April I started a fast, drinking liquids only, no solid foods. I was dedicated to searching out God’s will for this plumber thing and was willing to use the gift of fasting to build my faith and clear my perspective. When I started the fast I was thinking it would last for about a week. Shortly after getting into it, though, I realized that this fast was to be for longer and it was for much bigger reasons than finding a plumber. He wanted me to rest in Him.

I broke my fast as I started a three-day spiritual retreat at Pacem In Terris, a silent retreat center. I spent three days and nights in a cabin in the woods in very simplistic accommodations and spent time thinking about nothing. I was quite insecure at first, asking myself questions like, “Will God show up here and make good use of this time (and money) if I sit here and simply wait for him to do something? Maybe He only responds to direct requests and doesn’t actually want to spend time with me!” I felt as if I was losing complete control by doing nothing, and I like to be in control! I found myself thinking, “If I’m in control, then He’s not.” It was a call to surrender and the surrender looked like silence. In the end I felt at peace about my fast, about sitting and waiting on God and my months of waiting for a plumber. I even felt at peace about searching out a plumber on my own even though it would look as if my months of prayer had ultimately failed.

I did go find a plumber through the best resources and connection that were available to me. The bid was twice as large as I had hoped for. I tried other connections and was never able to even get in contact with them. But, praise God, He was still planning on answering my prayers through a source that I didn’t see. That way He was sure to get the glory.

On Monday June 18th, almost exactly six months after returning home from Kuwait, we started the plumbing work. A friend of mine stumbled upon a plumber through a casual conversation with a mutual friend at church. It was a direct answer to prayer and the cost was less than half of the other bid I had gotten on my own (thanks to extreme generosity of the plumber himself). God truly does hear and respond to prayers.

Community

Let me know if you would like to sit down and talk about how awesome our God is. I would love to grab coffee with you. If you would like to learn more about our ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It would also be encouraging to hear about what God is doing in your own life! Please feel free to find either one of us on Facebook, e-mail us, or call us.

If you feel like God wants you to give to support what we are doing, we have a way where you can give a tax-deductible gift. Contact us for details.

Nathan & Michelle Banker

1236 Upton Ave N

Minneapolis, MN 55411

Nathan.banker@gmail.com

952-215-7896

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