Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ministry Update - April 2011


Remnant Ministry Center in Brainerd, MN has hosted three or our Spiritual Well-Digging services this past month. The local Teen Challenge center joined members of the church for an evening of worship, prayer, and intimate encounters with God. There were confessions of sin, fresh spiritual revelations, and a deeper burden for the community.

Remnant Ministry Center has also been hosting a weekly prayer meeting for many of the local pastors. Two of these pastors serve on the board of our Lakes Area Chaplaincy. This month, all of these pastors and their congregations will be uniting in a Good Friday Service at the local high school. "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1).


Recently, I received a call from one of the Sheriff's deputies. He had been dispatched to deliver a death notification to an elderly couple who had just lost their only child. The deputy asked if I would be willing to assist him in this difficult assignment.

Even though I had been trained for this type of ministry, it was my first opportunity to actually serve in this capacity. My heart and mind were filled with potential reactions and needed responses. Above all, I wanted the couple to experience God's grace. Fortunately, as the notification unfolded, I was able to witness His love touch this couple as they faced probably the most difficult day in their lives. As their pastor joined us, it was encouraging to know God can carry our heaviest burdens.

This past month, we also experienced the arrival of the newest member of our family. Esther Hadassah Vanheel was born on Sunday, March 27. She is doing great as well as the rest of her family. I can only imagine the plans and purposes that God has for our little Esther. Like her namesake in the Bible, may she enjoy a deep, personal relationship with her King. May she always put His plans and purposes before her own desires and may He use her to be a source of help for the nation!


One of the greatest desires of a woman's life is to bear a child. This is often not suddenly decided upon but intricately planned out in their hearts and minds. Once established, the yearning fills their every moment. They speak and dream about it often. They even cry out in desperation for it. They refuse to be denied no matter how bleak the circumstances appear. There was a woman in the Bible who understood this desperation.

Hannah prayed year after year for a child but remained barren. In addition, Elkanah's other wife Peninnah, would often mock her condition. Even her own husband asked why he was not enough for her. Why did she desire more? I am sure the comments only added to her pain as she continued to cry out to God.

Many years later, a woman anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume. The perfume did not just give a pleasing fragrance but reflected a broken life's journey to the feet of her God. Tragically, like Hannah, her love and desperation were ridiculed. The disciples exclaimed, "Why this waste?" However, Jesus declared that her story would never be forgotten. He knew her desperation was an example of what true intimacy and love is.

I recently bore our fourth child. This baby was especially significant, as we had lost a baby only a year before. Prior to the miscarriage, I had been crying out to God for another child. Like Hannah, when I found out I was pregnant I was overjoyed. However, when we lost the baby a few weeks later, I felt so defeated. I wanted to give up but a portion of a song kept resonating in my heart,

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

While in labor with our little Essie, God spoke many comforting things to me but one scripture passage stood out above all the rest. As Esther's birth was nearing, the Lord clearly spoke to my heart, "and the Lord remembered her" (1 Sam. 1:19). God showed me, as He did with Hannah and the woman with the costly perfume, that our desperation is never a waste. He remembered and He answered. Even though holding my little promise was such a blessing, the true gift from my God, is that He remembered me. My tears, my prayers, my pleas, were not wasted, but remembered.


Over the years, I have been a pastor, teacher, and done the work of an evangelist. I have started a ministry and I have ended another. I have been involved in many spiritual causes but perhaps the least of which is giving a prophetic word.

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