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Encouragement
  • No Problem, My God Is Able (A day in Uganda)

    'No Problem My God Is Able' (painted on the door frame of a home in the Wakiso district, Uganda)

    In the summer of 2013 I travelled to Uganda to work alongside Show Mercy International. Show Mercy provides support for orphaned and abandoned children. Their strategy is to remind these children of their value and raise up a generation of “change agents” who will positively impact their own nation. With this in mind I joined a team led by Chris Overstreet, who is a friend and an outreach pastor at Bethel Church (Redding, CA). In March of this year I am heading back to work with Show Mercy again. This time I’ll be leading a team from DreamHouse and bringing my oldest child on her first missions trip.

    I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote while in Uganda to give you a feel for what we’ll be doing. I hope one of you reading this is impacted and consider coming with me to Africa to share the love of Father God and the life of Jesus Christ. It will be an amazing time together.

    Excerpts from Friday - August 16

    Breakfast / Had a chance to sit with Reyna (another team member). After sharing our hearts about ministry and the day ahead I encouraged her that she could hear God in many different ways. Later in a team meeting she shared with the group at-large how much our conversation impacted her. The revelation was now Reyna’s to share. ”God's first language isn't English, Spanish, etc," she told everyone. "He speaks in may different ways". She's got it.

    I shared with the other team leaders that I was specifically believing today that God was restoring marriages and uniting families. Last night I had a negative dream and in it my wife and I had a problem that couldn’t be reconciled. It broke my heart. As I woke up in my bunkbed in Africa, thousands of miles away from my family, I breathed a sigh of relief that this was just a dream. I've learned that God is always doing the opposite of that which is anxious and fear driven. He is perfect peace so knowing this I realized that my fear driven dream revealed some promises for the day. As I told my teammates this Chris O. challenged me to take a chance in the marketplace and release this truth. "Scott, you should totally open air preach today and invite anyone who wants prayer for their families to come forward for restoration, peace, connection and wholeness." I hadn’t considered doing that. Now Chris had challenged me to take what I knew in the spiritual into the natural. Oh my!

    After Breakfast / We went into town and half the team went to minister at the clinic while the rest of us went into the market. I was with the group headed into the market and had an interpretor just in case (much of Uganda speaks in English). I walked around smiling and making contact with the grocers there. I came upon a woman who had recently been treated for ‘jiggers’ (chigoa fleas that embed eggs in the crevices of exposed feet and toe nails). She gave me permission to pray for her and I reached down and grabbed her big toe speaking wholeness over her. She thanked me and after spending a few minutes with her I got up to go deeper into the market.

    I saw a kind faced older man sitting down. I introduced myself and shook his hand. I shared with him that Jesus loved him to which he replied “This is unfortunate for me because I am a Muslim.”

    “That’s no problem” I told him.

    “My mission is to tell you that Jesus loves you”. He very kindly told me that he thought of Jesus in a "different regard " than I did as a Christian.

    “It’s already too late”, I responded back. "I've delivered the message from Jesus, 'He loves you'. Soon you will know for yourself that this is true.”

    I continued telling him about the power of Jesus' love. I told him to expect dreams in the night where Jesus would reveal himself to him. He asked if I would be returning to the market. He said he needed time to consider the things I was sharing.

    "Today is the day of salvation and I can't promise you tomorrow. Can you make that promise?" I asked back knowing this moment was quite possibly my last with him.

    I looked him in his eyes and stayed with him affirming him and sharing the kindness of Father God. He allowed me to pray for him after initially refusing. During our prayer time he points to his chest and tells me that he has a bad heart. I started speaking blessings over his life and commanded his body to be renewed with strength. I reached out and put a hand on his chest and then to his leg which felt weak and wiry under my hand. He brought his other leg nearer so that I could lay my hand on that one too. By the end of my prayer he said that the next time I saw him he may be "born again”.

    At this point he was more than intrigued. He was in an outright good mood telling me "I will go and consider all you have shared with me." I felt like I should move on and noticed I was starting to attract attention.

    As I began to walk away a man in his late twenties was listening and walked over to me. Within a couple minutes he tells me that he used to be “born again” but one night while staying at the house of the pastor who was discipling him the pastor attempted to molest him. It was obvious by the hurt in his eyes that his heart was bound up by unforgiveness towards his former pastor. I told him that I was a pastor from America and wanted to stand in proxy for this man that had betrayed his trust. Right there I confessed the sin of a man I had never met and stood before him as if I was the pastor who had done this to him. Tears started to flow down his face. 

    “It is one thing to forgive but another to forget" he spoke while looking away.

    I could sense his heart wanting to let go of the pain. I pressed him again to do what would set him free. "Don't let this opportunity pass you by.” Just a few feet away from my new muslim friend this young man opened his heart and said he would forgive.

    He looked at me as if I was his former pastor and gently spoke out "I forgive you” and with his permission I gave him a big hug.

    The team bus had now pulled up and I could see the others starting to gather to head back to the Show Mercy base. As I crossed the busy Ugandan road I saw a row of boda drivers (motorcycle taxis). These men looked imposing. It was as if I was looking at 12-15 Ugandan Steve McQueen’s. Each one sitting composed on his motorbike waiting for the next customer. As a unit they looked effortlessly cool.

    I remembered Chris O’s charge to me.

    “Scott, you should totally open air preach today and speak to the men in the market. Call them forward to see their families made whole.” Now was my chance.

    No matter what fear I may have been feeling I couldn't let this moment pass. Without pause I pointed my attention to the boda drivers and started sharing about my dream. I spoke loudly to get their attention and told how it was God’s will for them to have a family that loved one another. God was here now to return thier hearts to their wives and He was the only one who could bring their wives into reconciliation with them.

    One man yelled back at me and my translator said "he says he refuses to listen to you unless you speak Ugandan”. I was in too far now to be deterred and in that moment called anyone forward that wanted prayer. Four men got off their bikes and approached me. Like an amabassador there in the marketplace Patrick, my interpreter, introduced me to these men as his friend and we prayed together.

    After lunch / We went on a walk to visit with several widows in the village. We visited with Joyce who is 102 years old. I was told she hadn't been out of her house/room for two years. Even two months or two weeks would be too long but two years... If this was true then we should do something.

    It was someone's idea that I carry her outside to get some fresh air. Her family agreed and I carefully picked her up (with some extra help to make the ride smoother) and brought her to a shaded spot. We sang some songs and listened as she sang back to us in Ugandan. Before leaving we prayed for her and her daughter (who had a leg injury and was healed the next week fully when another group prayed again). My teammates ministered to the children there with hugs and lots of attention. After spending an hour there we went on down the road making some more house calls to the widows.

    Dinner / In the evening I was able to talk with a few ladies on our team. We had a great meal and I had a chance to encourage each of them in their relationships with Jesus. The meal times are full of surprises getting to know people from around the world. Men and women who have gathered from Dubia, Austria, New Zealand, Romania and all across the United States to share Christ. What a privilege to be part of this wonderfully diverse team.

    After dinner / We gathered together for a team meeting and debriefed about the day. Chris O. shared with our entire group that we would have a chance to prophesy and minister tomorrow over local pastors who would be joining us for a Leaders Advance. Show Mercy had put the word out to the local village churches and they expected around eighty men and women. Louisa, a teammate and Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry graduate, gave a short and powerful teaching on what it means to prophesy (to strengthen, encourage and comfort - 1 Corinthians 14:3). Some team members shared that they were wary of prophesy and felt totally incapable. Chris O. took time to emphasize that love is at the center of everything we do. Prophesy comes from the heart of God. We simply share His heart. I love the way Chris O. keeps the emphasis of ministry on love. That's it - we minister because He loves us. We are sharing what we've received.

    That evening each group broke into small groups and we were able to minister to one another and practice what we just learned. There was a lot of breakthrough for everyone. Those that were nervous before were finding how easy it is to hear God's heart for someone. It's a joy to share His thoughts with others. I had some incredible words spoken over me that were right on. I can’t wait for tomorrow to see everyone minister in this new gift. 

    End of Day.

    Show Mercy International works together with leaders in different communities walking alongside and helping them to reach their goals of advancement and positive change for their area. Team members who travel to Uganda, share their expertise and gifting with these leaders and encourage them in their goals and dreams. 

    Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many people, both in Uganda and the rest of the world. Consider sowing into this great work.

    • Apply here to go to Uganda with Scott Crowder and team. Trip is from March 9th through the 20th, in 2015.
    • Consider giving a one-time donation towards this trip (make note for ‘Missions’)

  • Ferguson Isn't About You. It's About Us.

    If you've never read "Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr." or "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison then now is a great time. One is a biogroaphy and the other, fiction. These books informed me of something I didn't quite understand before reading them, and excuse me for being so obvious but...I will never understand what it means to be African-American.

    What I am not saying is that these are somehow replacement texts for the experience of being black in America. No I'm not saying that nor am I suggesting that these books made me understand in a moment something that is impossible for me to grasp. I'm saying these books unlocked something in me. They gave me light to see and an awareness of an ugliness I did not know was there. 

    There's something bigger going on in the aftermath of Ferguson than a single verdict. We have brothers and sisters who are hurting. This comes from a place some of us cannot comprehend. Be patient with one another. If you cannot bear to endure another minute of this process of restoration and wholeness in our land, remember - it's not about you. It is about us.

    It's times like these that we need the imagination of a gifted guide to unlock our perspective to see from the other's vantage point. This is what art does. It shows you life from the mind of another. It requires that you consider for yourself that what you are looking at is valuable because the one who made it took time to finish it.

    "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

    Contrary to what you may think Jesus didn't erase lines. He connected the dots. He made us whole. In Christ we find diversity - and it is complimentary. Actually, it's irreplaceable. Whether we've realized it or not we are of the same ilk. You and me, we have been given the same name - it is our humanity.

    Creation groans inwardly for the revealing of the children of God. It takes no expert to see the frustration. It's within reach yet waits for our embrace. The apostle Paul tells in Romans 8 that there is palpable "hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." 

    We must slow down and make room for us.

    by Scott Crowder

    A photo I took of my own chidren playing near the James River.

  • DH Radio: In Christ

    "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

    See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

    For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority."

    Colossians 2:6-10

    - Song performed by Scott Crowder & Dennis Lee at DreamHouse on 10/19/14.

    - Original song by Godfrey Birtill. Buy his album, "The Wine Is Alive", iTunes / his website.

  • The Present of Presence

    "Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!"

    "That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water..."

    "What are you trying to say?"

    "All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You - you alone - will have the stars as no one else has them - "

    "What are you trying to say?"

    "In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky a night...You - only you - will have the stars that can laugh!"

    And he laughed again.

    "And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!" And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabyy trick that I have played on you..."

    - excerpt from "The Little Prince" written & illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - buy here

    Currency is valuable because of what it connects to. The paper in your wallet or even the digital printout of your bank statement is a representation of what is valuable. The nature of currency is connection. It is transmission. There is acceptance that must take place. There is circulation. In the act of giving one thing and receiving another there is an exchange. And it’s in this exchange we find out that we are valuable.

    Our lives have been noted as something holding worth.

    We know this is true because Jesus came to earth. In his life and death he ascribed value to us. In Jesus’ coming He gave us life. It was abundantly beyond what we thought was true.

    God’s assessment for our value can be seen in His ultimate sacrifice at the cross. He died.

    in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself... (2 Corinthians 5:19, ESV)

    For God so loved the world that He gave... (John 3:16a, ESV)

    Not only do we see the value of our lives in Christ’s death. It is revealed in His life.

    We find it in the manger.

    We find it in Mary's womb.

    We find it in thirty years of insignificance.

    We find it his attendance at a wedding.

    We find it at meals with outcasts and swindlers.

    We find it in the way he treated women and children.

    We find it in a shared cup.

    We find it in forgiveness.

    We find it in eternal life.

    We find it in his total surrender to be like us and with us.

    The God of the Universe, Maker of Heaven and Earth put on limitation so that we might know Him. It was John the beloved of Jesus who said that ‘no one had ever seen God’ (John 1:18). Others had seen something of God, but before Jesus, John tells us, he truly was never seen for who he was.

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, ESV)

    What we find in the Incarnation is that because of our great value God wanted to close the gap.

    It wasn't okay that the things we thought were not His own thoughts. It wasn't His intention for His ways to be so far above our ways that in comparison it was as high as the Heavens are above the earth. So He made the first move. He drew near to us.

    The prophet Isaiah records this beautiful picture.

    “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10-11, ESV)

    The Word came down from heaven and made an everlasting deposit. What was given has accomplished the purpose for which it was sent. The deposit of Christ in you gives value to your valley. It makes the mountaintop more than a great view. 

    Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

    - Scott Crowder

    Image is 'The tree of life' (Cave painting found in Borneo, Indonesia)

  • Under God's Government

    - written by Scott Crowder

    I woke up Saturday morning and wrote this after being struck by the scripture below. Charissa shared Saturday night on what God was going to do in 2013 and asked me to read this during her message.

    From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God's kingdom was his theme—that beginning right now they were under God's government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the "Ten Towns" across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25 MSG)  (bold is my emphasis)

    The signs of God's new government weren't external. They were internal.

    This good government is marked by self-control, therefore it's gentle.

    It's patient.

    It's not easily overthrown or put off. 

    It's only demand is that you remain - that you abide. 

    This new government starts in the invisible but quickly is revealed in the visible. 

    It's a secret that spreads in contagious fashion once the word gets out.

    It's powerfully momentous like a jet stream. 

    By the time you've realized that you've come into contact with it you've already been moved from where you were before you heard it.

    You want to know more. 

    You want another ride. 

    You're addicted to this new goodness. 

    It's incomparable, insatiable, incalculable - you can't wrap your head around it. 

    You've tried explaining it but the only option is figuring out a way to bring others into the power of it. 

    This new government of goodness, this kingdom life refuses to be limited by description. 

    It's vast. It's hard to wrap your head around but when you're under it all the pain you've felt from unanswered questions and the tragic events that victimized you dissipate. 

    You don't feel manipulated like some kind of puppet here. 

    There's no concern about being controlled.

    You feel...alive. 

    You're starting to trust again. 

    You've forgotten some things that once seemed so very important.  

    This government that starts in an unseen realm is bubbling up and out of you. 

    People are noticing something different about you. Something that wasn't there before. 

    You're happy and they don't understand it. 

    You're unrelenting when they think you should quit. 

    You're circumstances seemed like evidence stacked against you yet your head is held high like a victor. You've got new perspective and you've started to make them wonder. 

    How can I find this in my life?

    What is it that they've discovered?

    The peace you're feeling is bigger than you now. It's facilitating breakthrough for the many. It's peace that undoes bondage and clears away wreckage. 

    It's like the ocean. It flows from love. 

    Unquenchable. 

    Immovable. 

    Immeasurable. 

    Unrelenting. 

    All surrounding. 

    You can call your circumstances 'your island' and think you're isolated. You can deem it a land mass or imagine its your own continent with separate climates and topography, but you're still surrounded. 

    Love is washing over your coastlines. 

    It's running through your rivers. It's pouring down your mountains. 

    It's kicking up storm systems that are there to refresh you and provide relief from drought. 

    Your deserts are sitting on reservoirs that are about to be discovered. 

    The ice from your mountains is breaking up and about to melt creating new rivers, overlapping tributaries, flooding into valleys and gorges, pushing out debris and driving away predators. 

    It's a year of Jubilee.

    You've never had it this good. 

    Good is about to be better. And better buckles under the weight and glory of His best poured out on you. 

    You're not going to be able to keep this in. 

    It's going to pour out like living waters. 

    Flow, flow, flow Spirit of life in Jesus Christ right now. 

    Invisible heaven be revealed and re-presented right here, 

    in these hearts, 

    in these minds, 

    in these lives. 

    We're under Your majesty. 

    Your good government will never end.