Faith pulls weeds.

on September 5, 2011 in Scotland with 23 comments by

I want to tell you about the ministry here in Edinburgh. I think you should know about the spiritual side of why I am here… it is why I am here. I want to tell you the absolutely amazing things that God is doing and the challenging things we are facing and the ways we are seeing prayer and fasting and outreach make a real difference in this city.

So here is one story.

Crossroads Church Edinburgh currently meets in the Eric Liddell Centre, which is great. But just like any church, someday we would like our own building.

And we know what building we want. 

Down the street from where we currently meet is a dilapidated nasty old church, built some time in the 1800s. Pigeons fly in and out of the shattered windows and the doors are completely stripped of paint. There is no where to park and the back garden is chained closed. There are weeds and plants growing up through every crack in the sidewalk. No one has met there in at least ten years and you can tell. It’s an absolute mess.

And we want it. Real bad.

I can’t tell you why, exactly. There is just something about it. Something about the way we feel when we pray for it. Something about the strategic location. Something about the way I can close my eyes and see it restored, with our banner hanging outside and kids running around, and the doors being open and inviting and people strolling in and the sun is shining.

I can see it.

And I think God sometimes gives us pictures for us to say  “God, I pray THAT becomes a reality.”

So our team is praying.

We are praying that God would make a way for us to have that building. We are praying that those who own it [and do NOT take care of it] would sell it or lose it. We’re praying that God would provide all the finances necessary. We’re praying for the growth of the ministries that will be in that building.

Hundreds of years ago, some men that I do not know worked day after day to build that church. Their prayers, I’m sure, were that God would be honored and glorified in that building. That building was made for a purpose and it is not living that purpose.

I want to pray with them, those men who laid stone upon stone. I want my prayers to mix in the bowl where their prayers have been held. And I want to be part of the answer to their prayers.

So a few weeks ago, our team decided that not only did we want to pray, we wanted to pull weeds.

[Just to give you an idea, this was after about 25 minutes of work… yes. The weeds and overgrown plants are unbelievable.]

No, it’s not our church, but we are believing God that it is going to be. So we pulled up the weeds.

[James is like, “And over here is something important and I’m going to keep talking even though you are taking a picture… blah blah blah.” You remember James. He makes haggis.]

We didn’t pull up the weeds because we want to be congratulated or we want to prove something to the world. We didn’t clean up the church because it will give us the upper hand in any way.

We took our Saturday to pull weeds because we love that building. And we wanted to take a step of faith. Together. A step that says, “God, not only will we pray for this, we will believe You for this, and we will walk in it.”

What if we are wrong? What do we lose by improving the look of the city? What do we lose by praying and clinging to faith? There is no consequence if we are wrong.

The bigger question is- what if we are RIGHT? What if God is burning this on our hearts because He is going to do miraculous things to make it happen? And what if we didn’t walk in faith and believe Him for it?

I hate missing miracles, so I’d rather walk by faith and look foolish and believe for a miracle and clean up someone else’s building.

[This isn’t our whole leadership team, by the way. We are nine all together.]

So I am here in Edinburgh to clean up the weeds in front of a church building we do not own, watching and believing that God has a plan to make this house His home again.

Will you pray with us today? That God would give us this building so that we can restore it to the purpose for which it was built?

Then all of our prayers will fill the bowl, mixing with those of the men and women who have worshipped in this place for generations, and the bowl will overflow, and the spillage will be miraculous.

. . . . .

What are you believing God for?

What steps have you taken/could you take as an act of faith?

[because I want to pray for you too]

23 comments

  1. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 4:09 AM  |  reply

    Praying with you! The church is gorgeous!! We are here, by the way! We got to the UK just over a week ago and is it too soon to say that I AM IN LOVE? I hope not, because I am. Since arriving here, we’ve met some believers who tell us that they really see God working all over England and fully believe that revival is coming. I am so excited that He sent us here to witness this!

  2. Kaye
    posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 7:47 AM  |  reply

    When I was having trouble getting pregnant, by faith, I bought some baby clothes and prayed over them. I was afraid of being hurt even deeper, but I wanted to show God that I believed him for a baby. It was painful for awhile – but God answered our prayers and one day, that baby girl wore those clothes. It was a triumph of faith I’ll never forget… and an outpouring of God’s faithfulness.

  3. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 7:48 AM  |  reply

    This is so incredibly inspiring. I will be praying, for sure.

  4. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 8:18 AM  |  reply

    “What if God is burning this on our hearts because He is going to do miraculous things to make it happen? And what if we didn’t walk in faith and believe Him for it?”

    Dang it, Annie! How did you get inside my head? Between yesterday’s sermon, the Book of Common Prayer, and now your blog post, I have an idea of what God is saying. But believing so confidently in this uncertain thing is scary to me. Thank you for the reminder. And I’ll be praying you all get your church!

  5. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 8:20 AM  |  reply

    Loved this post, Annie! I will be praying for God to give your ministry the building in such a miraculous way that the story becomes a legend there in Edinburgh!

    Now, some 8 years ago my church felt God telling them to build a building (and He gave Pastor the blueprint, even, and he’s not an architect). The church was small and had no $ to speak of, but we bought some land. Pastor went to the bank to get a loan and was basically told the church wasn’t wealthy enough to build THAT building (the one God had told him to build) They would’ve financed something smaller, but nothing of that magnitude. So, Pastor left and prayed and asked God. What did God say, “MOVE FORWARD and the well will NEVER run dry.” So without another dollar in the bank or a loan, we broke ground and started building. A million miracles took place along the way… and a year later the building was built just as God had said.. DEBT FREE! (And its about a million and a half dollar building too).

    Our church is now busting at the seams (we bought over 100 more acres) and our little town isn’t quite sure what to make of it. There are always rumors that we take up multiple offerings on Sundays (never happened) but those of us who lived it know how ONLY GOD could have accomplished it that way!

    Praying a similar story for the ministry there!

  6. Tay
    posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 11:10 AM  |  reply

    There are two parts to this long, but awesome story that I want to share. I hope you can take the time to read it! 🙂

    Part 1: A few months ago, my best friend moved across the country. When I first heard the news, I was devastated (and still am!), but I know that this is God’s plan for our life and for our friendship. I have a feeling that this is going to help me break out of my shell a little (I’m a tad shy) and make some new friends within my youth group and my school.

    An opportunity arose to be on the student leadership team at my church this next year. Honestly, I never would have considered applying for this position on the student leadership team if my best friend wasn’t moving. But, in my youth group, I feel like I always hang out with the same kids, and i want to meet new people. Plus, it’s my senior year! I went to the first training meeting last week, and I don’t really fit in with the other people on the team. So this was really a leap of faith for me.

    Part 2: A few weeks ago, I went to a camp with my youth group. I have been to this camp every year for the last three years of my high school career, but I have never experienced something this amazing before. During the Saturday night chapel, which is the climatic moment of camp, we took communion and just had this quiet, reflective time with God, which was really awesome and God really showed up in that moment. 

    But, what I want to share with you happened during the senior girls small group time after communion. This is when we kind of unravel and talk about everything that we heard from God. Sitting there and hearing about all of the junk in these girls have gone through was really emotional for me because I always thought they had it all together. Boy, was I wrong! 

    Somewhere during this time, I broke down and started crying. I have no idea why I started crying, but it felt so good! I honestly cannot remember the last time I cried. I tend to bottle up my emotions so it felt so good to let it all out. Pretty soon, every single senior girl was crying. And, trust me, it was not a few sweet, silent tears. We were all sitting on the floor, clinging to each other sobbing and bawling out eyes out loudly. It was probably not a pretty sight to see, but it was such a beautiful moment.

    Our wonderful adult leader, Jennifer started praying out loud for each girl and we all hugged, held hands with, or rubbed the backs of each girl who was being prayed for. We were all crying so hard, I barely remember the prayer that Jennifer prayed for me, but what I do remember is my back being rubbed, my hands being held and being hugged. I am getting all teary eyed right now just thinking about it! I felt so loved and so peaceful and so cared for in that moment, even though we were all crying so loudly.

    The real God thing about that moment is that before last night, there had been some division between the senior girls. We are all so different and we hang out with different people, but last night, we all came together and it was such a beautiful bonding moment. I hope and pray that the bond that we created will last the test of time.

    Epilogue: I prayed for God to show up and he sure did, in ways I never expected Him to. He gave me some amazing new friends, in the absence of my friend that moved and experiences that will last a lifetime.

    • Amy
      posted on Sep 08, 2011 at 3:47 PM  |  reply

      Good for you, Tay! You stepped out, even though you were scared, and the Lord blessed that obedience. I pray that this senior year will be your best yet! Blessings to you 🙂

  7. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 11:29 AM  |  reply

    Beatiful belief! There is something higly supernatural about “preparing for rain”…And this is a complete sidenote, but the dawgs let me down…again. But I still LOVE them!

  8. Grateful Reader
    posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 1:20 PM  |  reply

    Reading your blog continues to be one of my favorite parts of the day. Your authentic joy and love often lift my spirits when I need them lifted most. THANK YOU for the reminder that sometimes, you just have to move forward and pull the weeds and wait and see…

  9. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 1:44 PM  |  reply

    Love this! I’m going to pray from you guys & love how your acting in faith.
    I’m in a situation right now where I need a lot of guidance. The next few months is going to be filled with a lot of changes and decision. I really don’t know how things are going to turn out & it definitely has me nervous. This post has got me thinking about how I can act in faith? And I hope to keep that question at the front of my mind when I do have to make decisions the next few months

  10. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 6:52 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I lived right around the corner from this church until about 4 months ago (on the other side of the meadows now – joys of student life!) and would walk past it every day. I always thought it was so odd that it just sat there empty when there was such a need in the vicinity for a church that proclaims God’s truth, a place of refuge, a place of community. I could see it coming to life again and being a beautiful place of hope and joy and I am SO excited that there is a church that is dreaming that!! I can’t wait to see it become a reality!

    Right now I’m believing that God has brought me back to Edinburgh for another year. I spent the summer in San Francisco with YWAM and returning has been super hard. I know it is what God wants for me but it’s like I’m having to drag my heart back kicking and screaming a little. I think my first step of faith was getting on the plane! I think my second will be giving my all for Him here, learning from SF and carrying it with me but not dwelling on it to the point of distraction. Oh, and trusting that He knows if, how and when I’ll get to return!

  11. Sarah
    posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 7:23 PM  |  reply

    That was probably the most beautiful post of yours I’ve read! Keep praying, keep hoping, and continue in faith. 🙂

  12. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 9:13 PM  |  reply

    “I hate missing miracles, so I’d rather walk by faith and look foolish and believe for a miracle and clean up someone else’s building.” Amen.
    I’m praying and believing with you, Annie. Thanks for sharing.

    I am believing for something that I can’t share right now.

  13. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 10:23 PM  |  reply

    Wearing my favorite earrings on campus even though I don’t know anyone.

  14. posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 11:15 PM  |  reply

    Love your audacious faith!

  15. posted on Sep 06, 2011 at 12:19 AM  |  reply

    Hey Annie! Ok, so not to be a total stalker, but I have heard a ton about you from our lovely friends the Cowarts and saw this posted and just wanted to say thank you for sharing. It is so encouraging to read your words and your faith put on paper. I will be praying for this as well.

    Also have you heard the song “Crows and Locus”? I love the part where it says “She limps on up to the top of a mound looks at the faltered harvest. Feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose, and the the knowing in her guts something’s still gonna grow. She ain’t leaving ’till it does.” It reminds me of what you guys are doing, praying out of that sweet gut place that something will grow.

    Isn’t that the story of what God does over and over again? He breathes life into dust and man lives. He purifies the filthy. He takes up residence in the desolate places. May it be so with this beautiful church. 🙂 Thank you for believing in miracles and challenging me to do the same.

  16. posted on Sep 06, 2011 at 9:02 AM  |  reply

    oh, Annie…love the faith! thanks so much for sharing this specific prayer request. I’ll definitely be joining your team as you pray for that church building to be your future home!

  17. posted on Sep 06, 2011 at 12:19 PM  |  reply

    Oh, Annie. You have hit the nail on the head for me. This is exactly why I do all I can to help my church. My pastor had a vision to have our church in an old theatre. Well, that happened – so our church is held every Sunday in an old vaudeville theatre that was built in 1926. I help as much as I can because I love that building. Even if we aren’t supposed to be there for a long time, I am glad that the Golden State Theatre has been His home for a short while – and it has been such a blessing to so many people, myself included. To be a part of such a ministry is so humbling.

  18. Amy W
    posted on Sep 06, 2011 at 1:18 PM  |  reply

    I pass this church a lot, and it always makes me really sad to see it falling apart – yay for you trying to tidy it up a bit, and I hope that something works out and it gets used again. That would be awesome. : )

  19. posted on Sep 06, 2011 at 1:32 PM  |  reply

    That is awesome! We have been praying for you here in Omaha and it has been exciting to hear what God is doing on campus!!

    Believing God for some things that I literally can’t picture ever happening, including forgiveness and restoration in my family. I think of Elijah and how he prayed for rain and sent the servant to look for clouds 7 times before anything was spotted except clear sky. I’m still in the “seeing nothin” stage but trusting that someday, there will be the first sign of what is to come.

  20. Diana
    posted on Sep 08, 2011 at 8:27 AM  |  reply

    I love that you said “there is no consequence if we are wrong.” That is so true. I am often hesitant to try new things simply because I’m afraid of what will happen: What if I’m not good at it? What if I fail? What if I end up not liking it? This post was a nice reminder that, with many things in life, if something doesn’t work out as you hoped, you’re simply back where you started. In many cases, you are no worse for the wear. I believe that God will continue to help me try new things.

    The church you weeded looks beautiful! I love old buildings like that; they hold so much history and always seem to have a story to tell.

  21. posted on Sep 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM  |  reply

    […] with God: Asking Why from a fellow staff-writer at Christian Women Online…and Faith Pulls Weeds from Annie Blogs. […]

  22. Merideth
    posted on Sep 21, 2011 at 9:11 AM  |  reply

    When I decided to move to Alpharetta this past May I took a step of faith and believed God would work in my life. That he’d bring everything together for a job, to be able to live on my own for more than just the year lease(I mean not living with my family), and for him to direct me to my future dreams. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done that, yet. The volunteer opportunity I had fell through, and things still aren’t coming together. But, I’m trying.

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a sneak peek of Annie’s latest book! Click the link to download two free chapters of Let’s All Be Brave.