This week we were in Fulton, Missouri and played multiple concerts at the Fulton State Hospital.
It was a fun filled couple of days since we slept over at Ebenezer Baptist Church for 2 nights, which meant we had the whole church kitchen to ourselves and cooked our own meals as a team! Also, what better way to end off our last day in town with a Veggietales watching spree?!?…starting with Dave and the Giant Pickle!
I had the privilege of playing at the State Hospital last year on the road. It is a correctional facility for many different patients and clients. Some are there due to mental illnesses, anger management issues, and others have been in prison etc. As I looked out to the audience from the stage, I saw some familiar faces and some new…and in that moment I thought, Wow, God loves each and every one of these people. I was overcome with compassion for them and I was almost in tears as I watched them listen and respond to our message so attentively, excitedly and passionately. No matter what they’ve done, what their history looks like, what disabilities they have, I am once again reminded that they are no different than I am. The fact is, God loves them and He DIED for them.
Our contact at the venue and one of the security guards told us how much the patients appreciate CTI. “They always ask when ‘the band’ is coming back. They don’t forget.” Many of the patients remembered me from last year when my team played there. The patients even made us a nice card to express their thanks. What a privilege it was to be able to show God’s love to these people who maybe haven’t been given love or received love as much as we have. They are people who are often looked down upon and judged, and it meant the world to them that we were there taking the time to talk to them, play for them and, ultimately, love them.
It’s crazy how we can easily settle into a routine on the road. In fact, any kind of ministry that you do can become mundane very quickly. So my prayer today for us all is this: God, as we reflect on Your unconditional love for us, give us also a renewed love for Your people and all those around us as we do ministry. Remind us that these are all people You died for and You love infinitely more than we ever could. I pray that this would lead us to be intentional with every opportunity we have to share Your love with others.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…We love because He first loved us.
1 John 4:10-11; 19