Fateful Bike Ride
Early in the Summer of 2007, I was enjoying a sunny & warm June morning on my bike. I had ridden to the local post office to pickup mail from the PO Box of the fledgling ministry venture that my wife & I had recently started. We were hosting a small house church of about 12 people…we were growing as a community of Jesus people, and were praying for ways we might be able to serve people in our neighborhood. On this particular morning, I was praying. Exercise has always been my prime time with God, especially biking and running.
As I returned toward home, I was riding South on Watson Avenue in central Beaverton…there wasn’t much traffic. It’s a one-way street, and I was riding along the right-side curb. I don’t remember what I was talking with the Lord about at the moment, but I do remember that I was experiencing some of the joy & peace we get when we’re able to put all other things aside and just “be” with the Father who loves us. It was sweet and meaningful, and I was really enjoying the intimacy of the moment.
As I rode, I noticed the Pregnancy Resource Center on my left. In recent years, the PRC has moved, but at that time it was located on the corner of Watson & 2nd. I read the sign and thought about the ministry they provide. Regardless of one’s stance on issues surrounding abortion, I think that everyone can agree that the faith-based PRC provides a really wonderful service to young pregnant ladies & young moms who are seeking help. As I got nearer, I noticed that the building had a few minor rough & broken spots, and that the landscaping seemed a bit unruly. Immediately, a phrase popped into my head: “Ask them if they need help.” I quickly brushed it aside, imagining how weird & awkward it would be for a middle-aged sweaty guy to come in and ask if they needed help. As I reached the point where I was directly across the street from the building, the phrase came again, this time with much more force and conviction. It wasn’t an audible voice, though I know many people who have heard audible spiritual voices; it was just a thought-phrase accompanied by a really strong feeling. This time, I wondered if it was the Lord. It didn’t make sense to me, so I furrowed my brow and continued on…convincing myself that it was a bad idea and it couldn’t possibly be the Lord speaking to me. I got a few pedal-strokes past the building, and the phrase rang through my head like a horn blaring from a diesel truck: “ASK THEM IF THEY NEED HELP!!!” I literally said out loud, “Okay, okay!”
I promptly turned around, rode to the front porch, and leaned my bike against the rail. I felt totally stupid. I didn’t know what I was doing, what I would say, or how they would respond. Besides that, I was wearing dorky bike shorts and I was smelly. I walked through the unlocked door to the reception area, and there was no one there. I stood there for a moment, looking around sheepishly and wondering what to do…I meekly said “hello?” A lady peeked her head through an open doorway behind the counter, “Oh, good morning, we’re not open yet….can I help you?” This was the moment when I wondered if I was an idiot; internally rolling my eyes at myself, worried that I had put words into God’s mouth. She looked afraid. I explained, “I’m sorry, I was just riding by your building on my bike and couldn’t help noticing that there were some things that needed some help.” She was looking like she wanted to call the police. I continued, “I’m part of a little church group, and we’re looking for ways to serve our community. I was wondering if you needed any help around here.” She relaxed a bit and asked a few questions….we talked for a minute, then she asked me to wait. “Oh great, now I’m freaking-out this poor lady and I’m gonna get in trouble with the boss.
A different, younger lady came to the counter with a very inquisitive look on her face. “Hi, how can I help you?” I started over from the beginning, determined to see this thing through. The more I shared, the more interested she appeared to be. She asked a lot of questions about who I was, and what type of group I was from. She was the director, and it ended-up that we knew some of the same people in the local Church Community. I could tell that they were no longer afraid of me, and we enjoyed a few minutes of stories and laughter. After a bit, I felt comfortable with my two new friends, and told them the story about how I had been praying and felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about helping them. The director stood there stunned for a moment. She finally said, “You might think this is really weird, but I have to tell you something.” She paused, then continued, “Early this morning as I was sleeping, I had a really vivid dream of a man showing up here at the PRC in the morning before we opened, and that I was supposed to listen to him.”
Do you have chill-bumps while you’re reading this? Cuz I do while I’m writing this…and it’s been 10 years since it happened!
We talked in more detail about her dream, and my impression to stop that morning; both of us totally persuaded that Almighty God had not only spoken to us, but that He had connected us for some reason. How powerful it was to know beyond doubt that we were walking in the very footsteps ordained by God for us! We compared notes and talked for quite awhile about what the Lord was doing in their ministry there at the PRC, and how helpful it would be to have our help with some repair & maintenance items.
This is the birthplace of faith. Not that God’s grand plan is to break into human history so that we can get the chills and have all of our needs met; but that He is always orchestrating divine appointments & destinies to advance His greater plans for His people and His work! Did you know that the original Greek word translated as “faith” literally means “fully persuaded?” When we see God show-up in the middle of life’s circumstances, intervening and transforming like He does, it reminds us that He’s real and active and working toward great things we cannot see. How amazing He is!
I returned to the PRC in July with a group of 7 adults and 7 kids. We repaired a screen door and the floor of the entry porch, did some painting, and raked leaves. It was encouraging to the ladies who work there every day, and made a nice difference in the appearance of the building. Honestly, it wasn’t that big a deal; but it was super encouraging for them to know that God cared enough about their work to send us. For me and my group, it was life-changing. It was shortly after this project, reflecting on how fun it was for our group and how God had orchestrated it, that we began to dream about the next step…”what if we did something like this to help a low-income homeowner in our neighborhood?”
It started with prayer, was catalyzed by prophecy, and led to the projects we know today as Catalyst NW. The rest is history. His history.
”Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)