Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The House of Eleven Windows

The wife’s name was Ethel. She and her husband were once missionaries to Mexico, many years ago. Ethel was one of the few people I’ve ever met who had a genuine prophetic gifting. This means she would often have words of encouragement for people that included details only God would know. One evening, as we were having dinner in her home, Ethel told us why she had invited us over to her house.

“I have a Word for you,” she said.

After dinner she began to tell us about a vision God had shown her several months earlier on a Sunday morning. It happened when we were still on staff at the Vineyard church in Tustin – before we left to start our house church. In fact, at the time of her vision, no one knew were leaving, and no one knew we were thinking of planting a house church where 100% of the offering would go to help the poor in our community.

Ethel started by telling us how her vision began. Wendy and I had come and sat down in front of her and her husband during worship. She told us how, during the worship, she kept seeing a large, three-story house with eleven windows all over it. She kept seeing it in her mind every time she closed her eyes and so she started to pray and ask God what this picture meant. God spoke to her heart and said that it was because Wendy and I were going to be leaving and that we were going to start a house church.

Sitting there at her dinner table, Wendy and I slowly turned to look at each other in amazement. No one was aware that we were leaving to start a house church at this point in time. This was quite an on-target word of encouragement to us.

She wasn’t finished. She said that she then asked God why there were eleven windows on the house. God spoke to her heart again, as we were standing in front of her worshipping, that the eleven windows stood for eleven windows of opportunity that He was about to open up for us in this new ministry.

At the time of this dinner with Ethel, Wendy and I didn’t know where we would end up living. We had just been told by our then-current landlord that we needed to move because they wanted to sell their house. Ethel’s word of encouragement meant a lot to us because it meant that God had confirmed our calling and that He intended to bless us in this new adventure.

Soon enough we moved out of our old house, stored our belongings in a storage unit, and began searching for a new house. In a few weeks we moved into our new house in Orange, a few miles away from our old house. After a few more months we began our first house church meetings and called it “The Mission”.

After being in that new house only a few months, my family and I were leading a “Kids Club” in our home to reach out to the children in our neighborhood. We were having Thursday evening house church meetings with a handful of others and things were going pretty well.

One night, I couldn’t sleep and I got up to pray. It was about three o’clock in the morning. I went into the den where we normally host our house church gatherings and I began to pray about that word He gave us through Ethel months before. I prayed and asked God to show me more about what those “eleven windows of opportunity” really meant.

Suddenly, I realized something amazing. I started to mentally count how many windows there were in this new house we were now living in. I counted eleven windows. I mentally did the count in my head again, adding up the windows in each room one more time to be sure. Again, the number was the same. Eleven windows.

The simplicity of this realization washed over me like a flood of emotion. I sat on my couch, in the dark and began to shake my head in wonder and disbelief. All those months ago, long before anyone knew we were even thinking of starting a house church, long before we ourselves even knew where we’d end up living next, long before we’d ever started to walk out our calling to be missionaries in our city, God had this house in mind. God held this place for us. He intended for us specifically to be in this neighborhood, to minister to these children, to lead the house church in this very place. He even counted the windows and told us about it months in advance so that we’d know we were in the right place at the right time.

As I sit here writing this, in the house with eleven windows, I do not know what God is about to do next. But I do know that God has us in the right place. I do know that God has seen the end from the beginning and I know that He will carry us in His arms, as He always has before.

Just this morning, I got up to pray again. I went into the den and knelt in front of the same sofa to pray. I again remembered the word about the eleven windows. Then I started to count the doors in our house, just out of curiosity.

Can you guess how many doors there are in this house?


1 comment:

featuring chas pike said...

this is a very encouraging piece to read this morning.
thank you.