Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Do We Hinder?

(picture from
Seventeen years ago, a young man moved from Colorado Springs, leaving his position as a children’s church minister at our church, to go back to his hometown in Illinois. Pastor Louie Reyes started a ministry he calls Sidewalk Sunday School, which is now one of the biggest and most successful children’s ministries in the nation. He was here to speak to us Wednesday night and share bits of his story. Let me just tell you; very impressive. 

They just purchased an old YMCA building which is undergoing extensive renovations. The bank wanted four million dollars for the building, but sold it to them for 1.2 million dollars - cash. By the time the ministry moves into the building, they’ll be debt free. Yes, it’s an amazing story. But, it all started in Pastor Louie’s heart, before he was a pastor. And he shared his heart with us that night.

“Why not YOU?” he asked. Then asked again, “Why NOT you? Can you believe that God can do it through YOU?”

Now, I have to admit, my immediate answer, though under my breath, was, “Who? ME?”

“It’s easy to believe in Him – but do you believe in yourself? Do you believe what you can believe; the vision God gave to YOU?”

Yes, it’s easy for me to believe in God. But, I can’t always say I believe in myself. I’m working on it, though. I’m recognizing who I am in Christ more and more with each passing day, with each passage of scripture I read and study, with each promise I receive from God. But for all the good work God can do through me, I restrain Him when I don’t believe in myself; when I don’t see in me what He sees in me – what He put there.

I’ll admit, I don’t understand the theology of it all, but yes, we restrain God. That almost sounds sacrilegious to say; as if we have power over what God does and doesn’t do. However, He’s bound by His own Word, so He honors our choices. We see it spelled out the following verses, particularly in verse 5.

Pastor Louie took us to Mark 6:1-6:
Mark 6:
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 
When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things? they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?
3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.  
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”   
He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Verse 6 points out that Jesus was amazed. He was amazed at their lack of faith. He may have thought, “How could you not believe in Me?” To which they’d have had to admit, “You’re one of us, and we don’t even believe in ourselves. Nothing good comes from us.”

Is this our attitude about the things God wants to do in our lives? The things he wants to do with and through our lives? Do we refuse to acknowledge that God can and will do great and mighty things in and through us? What are we restraining God from doing? How much of the suffering in the world is because we, and other believers just like us, don’t have faith enough to believe the incredible things God created us for?

Sidewalk Sunday School and the Church of Joy wouldn’t exist as it does if Pastor Louie refused to believe in himself and what God can do with a willing vessel.

What dreams has God put inside of you? You didn’t come up with them on your own, God put them in your heart so that your union with Him could activate them and bring them to pass.

Why not YOU?  Why NOT you?

Thank you, Pastor Louie Reyes, for unleashing dreams across the nation!

Find Pastor Louie here: Sidewalk Sunday School  and here: The New Church of Joy


  1. Love this blog Helen! I think this is my favorite one of yours so far. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Aimee! I'm glad you got the chance to read it and ponder it. I think it's one of my favorites, too!

  2. We can't change the world by standing still. Wow, truer words have never been spoken. I loved this entry, Helen. I loved this song. I loved the whole point! thank you for sharing it with me and all of us.
    I would love to hear more detail about what the Sidewalk Sunday School actually does but other than that, I loved this!!!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Kassie! There are links at the bottom of the post that will take you to the Sidewalk Sunday School ministry and the New Church of Joy. The ministry has grown to reaching more than 2000 kids each week. The started their own Bible college - a success center and a church. It's an amazing story behind an amazing ministry!