With Christmas just around the corner, it’s almost pantomime season. So, how many of you can remember or have seen the children’s classic, Dick Whittington?
The poor orphan boy Dick and his cat set off to find their fortunes in London because they had heard it was a place full of opportunities where the streets were paved with gold. I never realised that this story was loosely based on the 14th century Lord Mayor of London, Richard Whittington. But, before I go off track, that’s not the point of me writing today!
I am involved in a training school called (TSM) based in Bedford and students are taught that…
This means that we actively seek ways in which to see His kingdom break out on the streets of Bedford to prepare students to take this lifestyle away with them to their own towns and cities. This weekend was our first outreach day of the year.
As I was prayerfully preparing for this day, I felt God say that the streets were paved with gold.
I felt that God wanted us to know that outreach was not going to be difficult and we wouldn’t struggle to find people that needed loving, encouraging and to be prayed for. In fact, the streets would be literally full of gold that just needed to be uncovered.
If you read my blog (thank you), you know that I have written before on what it means to ‘call out the gold‘ in people. It is simply, to see people through God’s eyes, knowing that all people are created in His image and are valuable to Him. That means everyone, including those who are not like you, who don’t look like you, are not of the same social status, who don’t come from the same country of birth, who may have served time in prison, are living on the streets or even those who don’t support the same football team, but everyone!
Gen 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
When we see people through God’s eyes it changes everything.
You start to realise that everyone is precious to God and that is regardless of what they may have done in their life or what their life looks like.
When you are going out on the streets with the sole intention of loving people well, the pressure is off! You don’t have to tell everyone you meet the gospel, although you might tell some. All you have to do is love the one in front of you, whatever that may look like for that individual.
This might be an encouraging word, a cup of coffee, a hug, a prayer, a prophetic word, or just stopping to listen to them.
Love always looks like something!
I also felt God give me a picture to go with the phrase about the streets being paved with gold and that was a picture of a funnel, yes, a bog-standard funnel. Strange you might think?
A funnel is a tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding the contents into a small opening. A funnel doesn’t have to try hard to do its job because it’s been designed for a purpose and so have we!
As we stay open to receive from God with arms metaphorically outstretched, we can be conduits for God as He pours into us. We can then direct that straight to the intended target for the blessings we can give away freely.
Matt 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
I felt Him say that He would open up small opportunities/openings and we would get to pour blessings directly from Him to the person in front of us.
He wants us to be like a funnel, a conduit for His blessings. Ask Him for whatever you need for the moment and for the person in front of you and be ready and open to receive from Him. Be like a funnel!
With these words running through my mind I came to outreach so excited and expectant for what God was going to do through me on the streets of Bedford, and I wasn’t disappointed!
Before the students set out we gathered for some training and the team I oversee is the breakout team which means we get to do whatever we feel God wants us to do or go wherever He wants us to go. We get the opportunity to create atmospheres on the street and then take opportunities presented to us.
We decided that we would start the year with alternative treasure hunting. Some of you may be familiar with this if you have been involved with any sort of outreach before, but for those who are unfamiliar…
We created a treasure map with clues about the person/s God would like us to minister to, they are our treasure, the gold.
We simply took a few moments before heading out to ask God for the following:
Description of something the person may be wearing or colours of clothes, details of the clothes,
Name of the person or the first letter of their name,
Location, where we may find them,
Ailment, any sickness or injuries they may have or if they are suffering with anything like anxiety, grief etc.
I say we did this quickly because it’s just a case of asking God to highlight some details and it’s usually the first things that flash across your mind, which is why it’s so easy to convince yourself that you are making it up and not hearing from God. Of course the proof is in the pudding as they say!
It’s also best not to overthink it or you might talk yourself out of it. The next thing to do is share your clues with whoever you are going on the streets with as this keeps you accountable and you can both be looking. It’s also always better to have a ‘courage buddy’ with you when you are starting out as they can literally give you the courage to step out and go for it.
When we are stepping out like this we are not always going to get everything right and that’s totally fine because the reason for going out isn’t to just come back with the best story but the motive for going out is to love people well so even if you don’t get the right person that matches all your clues you will still get to encourage someone which can be massive and life changing for the receiver.
When you spot your ‘person’ you can tell them you are on an alternative treasure hunt and that they are the treasure, you can even show them your treasure map. As we found, people tended to be blown away most of the time that they were anybody’s treasure and very open to being encouraged, prayed for etc.
I wrote a list of things that I felt God say and then we hit the streets with the students. We very quickly started to spot people we had written down and every single time my mind was blown at the kindness of the Father. Not just for the person that was blessed but the fact that I had heard correctly and got the opportunity to partner with God in loving that people well.
We got to chat with a whole spectrum of people; men and women, some that were struggling in life, some that needed to be seen, some that needed an encouragement about their identity, some that needed a healing in their body. But all without fail were open and happy to chat with us. Some went away crying with relief that they had money for food, that they felt like they were doing a good job being a surrogate parent, that they were receiving the love of God and having their destiny called out, that they were the generational glue in their family and businesses were blessed. This was all in the space of an hour and a half!
It was the most fun and exhilarating time I have ever had on the streets and God’s words about the outreach were so true about it being easy because there were so many people in need. We kept ourselves open the whole time to whatever the Holy Spirit wanted to say through us and being with a partner or small group also means one can be chatting whilst the others are listening to the Holy Spirit.
We finished off the day with a story time where students got to share how they had stepped through fear to speak to people on the streets in this way and told of amazing conversations, healings and breakthroughs they had been party to.
So, if you have never tried outreach before I hope you feel inspired to give it a go and maybe going on your own treasure hunt. The streets are paved with gold where you live, all you have to do is look at people through God’s eyes.
“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it”. Andy Warhol
I pray that you would allow God to use you as conduit for His love, kindness, peace, grace, power, healings and miracles on the streets of your town and city. I pray that your eyes would open to the possibilities for encounter that are available every day when we see people through God’s eyes. May you be someone who calls out the gold of those in front of you, where everybody else is so quick to see the dirt. In Jesus mighty name.