“I HAVE TO GET BAPTIZED! LIKE…RIGHT NOW!’
The rambunctious audience hushed. It was a stuffy 98 degrees, egg salad stench elbowed it’s way down the aisle. I might throw up. But this. Every annoyance slipped into the background. My eyes welled up, looking at this 10-year-old girl who had just catapulted off her seat. She was serious and passionate. Having given her heart to Jesus just weeks before, she meant business.
Emily, if you want to get baptized, we’ll make sure it happens!
You may imagine this took place during Sunday school. Nope.
This scene played out on the side of the road, in a 20-year-old trailer…outside a Public School. This is my first year teaching ‘Chapel on Wheels’. If you’re not familiar, public school kiddos get permission from their parents to trek out to a hot, crowded, sometimes smelly, propped up, blessed trailer.
Church and state are separated by 12 inches out on the curb.
All across Orange County, kids give up their lunch recess to participate.
To hear about Jesus.
To know they’re loved.
To believe they matter.
Last week, a woman from South Africa peeked in utter confusion, Is this a Church?!
Well…kind of. For 45 minutes…it’s church to these kids.
She threw her hands up, AH! Can you believe it?! They took God out of schools and kicked him out on the street!!
It made me laugh out loud. It does sound ironically sad. But believe me, God can’t be kicked out of any place. Satan is such a liar. It’s both laughable and infuriating.
Joseph was told there was no room at the inn for Jesus to be born. (Luke 2:6-7)
No room, did NOT mean, No Jesus.
He still came.
We may not like the thought of our precious King being born in stable. Many grieve that there is no longer room for Jesus in the Public schools. But guess what?!
No room, does NOT mean, No Jesus.
He still comes.
People we love may fix a ‘NO ROOM FOR JESUS’ sign atop their relationships.
No room, does NOT mean Jesus hasn’t come for them, either. He may be waiting a foot away from their heart-wrenching defiance.
Joseph and Mary didn’t go far from those that denied them space. They stayed close to the walls that kept them out, confident Jesus would be delivered.
At times, God will call us to remain near to walls, circumstances, governments and friendships that have no room for Jesus. I want to encourage you to stand strong and don’t give up on them! God knows you love them. He loves them more. He passionately desires to be delivered into their hearts. He may be asking you to be the midwife. Jesus is coming!
A stinky stable didn’t keep kings, wise men and shepherds from coming to see Jesus. And apparently, a stinky trailer hasn’t kept rowdy 5th graders from him either! God can do his thing anywhere.
‘KEEP OUT’ signs are really ‘KEEP PRAYING’ signs.
We can sit outside public schools, government buildings, brothels, broken relationships, fractured families and pray. No wall, no law, no enemy can keep Jesus out.
I say this confidently! Twenty kids accepted Jesus as Lord in our funky little trailer this year. I never imagined this happening. Emily is getting baptized, along with other kids from Chapel on Wheels this Sunday. We didn’t have to go into the schools. We simply had to nestle ourselves up against the cold curb and deliver Jesus. He came.
“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 55:11
Chapel on Wheels (aka Released Time), came to LA in 1942. Yorba Linda started the program in 1953, starting with just 3 schools and 1 trailer. NOW, the Placentia/Linda School District has 7 trailers, 21 schools and a staff of 52 volunteers! The program averages 356 students in our local community. So awesome.