The event I’m about to share is totally true…
This past Sunday, after an amazing day of ministry in our 3 church campuses and an incredible, vision-packed meeting with my executive team; I went to grab a bite to eat with my family, our tech director and our Mexicantown campus directors. We ate at one of our favorite spots in Corktown (pictured below). Good food, lots of laughs and just relaxin’…
After the meal, I was walking to my wife’s Suburban parked on the street. I was holding the hands of both of my little boys, Maximus & Chase, as I neared the vehicle. Then, all of the sudden, the car started and squealed away! Stolen right in front of us!
Well, the other two guys that I was eating with were pulling up and, without thinking about what I was saying, I (like you would yell sick ‘em to a dog) shouted “go get my car!” to Zach – who was followed closely by Andy! They zoomed right behind the thieves! Crazy right?! Well, my boys were crying & a little shaken, so I put them in my car and my wife took them and went to pick up our daughters at a sewing class.
Now, I’m standing in the middle of the street shivering and alone while two of my staff guys are off chasing car thieves! Well, the bad guys got away, so Andy comes back & picks me up. I’m still determined to find them or at least my wife’s car; so we go back to combing the streets in the area where they were last seen. Note: this is NOT a good area for us to be snooping around.
We’re blowing through stop signs, going the wrong way on One Way streets, driving way too fast — Andy was really “excited”. By the way, we didn’t have a plan for what we would do IF we caught them, but I was feeling REALLY courageous! We had nearly given up hope and began heading back towards downtown when WE FOUND IT! My wife’s Suburban was parked on a shady looking street (abandoned warehouse on one side, and rundown apartment building on the other side). I hop out of the car – which made both of my guys very unhappy – I wanted to do something but they convinced me to call the cops first. So I did and we waited…
While waiting, the thieves drove by a couple times (they had a second car we were also chasing previously) – I guess they were trying to wait us out so they could come back and finish the theft (and eventually chop shop). The cops showed up and approached the car with flashlights & guns drawn. After securing the vehicle, I joined them and we inspected the damage: broken glass, steering column broken apart and wires hangin’.
The cops ask IF I have a towing company… I say, “ummm, I think we forgot to pay AAA, so I don’t know.” The cop says, “well I doubt you want to turn this in to the insurance – your rates will go way up, so let me see what I can do.” The other cop says, laughing, “man, if he can hotwire your car for you, I might have to cuff him!” IT STARTS! He says “there you go, now STEAL YOUR CAR BACK!” – he shows me how to turn it off with a screwdriver when I get home – so, I hop in (no electric working except headlights) and drive it home!
I felt like David in 1 Samuel 30. The enemy stole his stuff & took his family – so, he went after the enemy and got back everything the enemy had stolen! My story is less bloody but I still like it!
Friends, the enemy has stolen our sons & daughters, our brothers & sisters, our moms & dads, our friends & neighbors, our values & respect… and we should be ANGRY about it! And, we should DO MORE THAN PREACH about it!
Maybe you think my story above is reckless and ill-advised. You would probably say the same about the way we’re doing ministry in Detroit. And, I would answer you by calling you a chicken and hypocrite! Put up or shut up! I’m not trying to anger you, impress you or offend you, I’m trying to provoke you!
Yeah, I could’ve just stood in the streets and preached at the wind — no risk in that (and I could’ve sounded really tough doing it). Zach and Andy would have been safer. We could’ve put a spiritual sounding spin on it all. But, I’ll tell you this, standing in my driveway last night with these two men, next to my wife’s returned Suburban, made us feel ALIVE and UNITED!
That’s how we should ALL feel every Sunday when the lost, stolen, abused and broken are brought back from the grip of the thief and given a new start and a place to heal.
The way we felt in my driveway is the way we felt when we began this ministry in Detroit eight years ago. We knew we were in the enemies camp and that it was dangerous work. Since then we’ve seen 8-9 cars stolen, 7-8 on my team have been robbed at gun point, several home robberies and many other crimes done. God’s work is dangerous! It should be! Because when I pray and obey it brings the danger to the devil’s front door. He knows when I’m awake and he hates it! I’M AFTER HIM! I’m one of God’s REPO MEN and we’re taking back everything the enemy has stolen! I’M NOT ALONE.
You don’t have to live in Detroit to experience the resistance of the enemy. Just get outside of your “sanctuaries” and enter the battle field of your community: then STEAL BACK everything that’s been stolen before it’s torn apart beyond repair!
I’m calling you out! And, yeah, I’m calling me out too!
Stop preaching and hiding — run to the front lines — make hell regret the day you were born again. You’re alive for an eternal purpose. Victories may not come easy, but they’ll come!
Enough is enough,
By the way, my wife’s 1997 Suburban is in rough shape. She really could use a new or newer vehicle for my family (5 kids). Someone out there needs a tax write off before the end of the year. Ask around (church, friends, etc), maybe God could bring us a blessing through you! Thanks! And, hopefully, this story will also bring MORE PRAYER covering to us serving here in the D! We believe “the safest place to be is in the will of God”!!
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