SparrowFly

The Power of One January 15, 2012

Filed under: On the Hunt — admin @ 9:07 pm

January is the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month. Tonight at our church, I had the privilege of leading the congregation in a scripture prayer I wrote for those who are held in the chains of slavery all over the world. I’ve included the prayer in this blog post. Feel free to take it and adapt it for your own use in interceding for these precious men, women and children.  (***a note: I live in State College, PA so you know what I’m referring to in the 6th section)

 

Prayer for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Ephesians 6:12 tell us that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Every moment we live for God, every prayer we pray to Him is a battle on some level. Tonight before we enter into battle for those caught in human trafficking and slavery, let’s lay bare before God our own sin in these areas. Then we will be free of entanglements so that our armor will fit appropriately and we will be able to raise our weapons effectively.

 

Heavenly Father, tonight we want to get real with You. So now, we, Centre Church, confess and repent of our sins – specifically those of a sexual nature and those of a manipulative/predatory nature. Ask the Lord now to show you where you need to repent and grab onto forgiveness. Then aggressively, whole-heartedly confess that to Him. We’ll take a moment to do that now.

 

Creator, thank You that if we confess our sins to You, You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1John 1:9) We hold on to that forgiveness and our relationship with You and wear them as the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, the Shoes that carry the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

 

King of Kings, we approach Your throne of grace with confidence tonight on behalf of the thousands and thousands of enslaved men, women, boys and girls all over the Earth who need mercy and grace in this time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Our hearts grow heavy with every bit of news reminding us of these precious humans who are caught in a predator’s web.

 

Loving God, Your Word says you keep record of our tears. (Psalm 56:8) We know you have been gathering the tears of all of these hurting ones. We know you have not turned Your back on them. What goes on in the dark corners of the Earth may be hidden from man’s eyes, but it’s not hidden from Your eyes because even the darkness is not dark to you; the night shines like the day, for darkness is as light to You. (Psalm 139:12) Lord, can we be so bold to ask that you would take all of those collected tears and pour them out onto the Earth? Let those exposed tears stir up unbridled compassion in political, social, economic and religious leaders all over the planet in order to bring a mass exodus and rescue to all who are ensnared in human trafficking and slavery! May the salt in those released tears wash over the heart, soul, mind and strength of the victims, bringing complete healing to every wound inflicted on them. May the comfort they receive be used to bring comfort to others they can relate to. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

 

Wonderful Counselor, you have shined a light to expose so much in our own little town and we are thankful for it. May we continue to walk with the eyes of our hearts enlightened. (Ephesians 1:18) Let us not go back to comfort as justice is served, but may the unsettling rumblings of Your Spirit continue to make the City Church’s seats very uncomfortable. Let our love be true, hating what is evil and holding on to what is good! (Romans 12:9) One of Your modern psalmists wrote that faith without works is “about as useless as a screen door on a submarine” and, Father, that’s not where we want to be. Call Centre Church to action in the ways most effective for this part of the Body to move.

 

Thank you that whether our faith is tiny as a mustard seed (Luke 17:6) or giant as the mighty Redwoods, You hear us today. We give thanks to You because You are good and Your love endures forever. We trust that those You redeem from the pit of slavery and from the hand of the enemy will tell their story; that those You gather from the east, west, north and south will share testimonies of Your rescue and healing for all the world to hear. (Psalm 107:1-3)

 

May we celebrate as we see you break the snare of the fowler so the birds trapped inside can escape and fly free! (Psalm 124:7) Through people and through divine miracles, loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke. (Isaiah 58:6)

 

In the Name above all other names we pray,

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stripped. January 2, 2012

Filed under: Covered by His Pinions — admin @ 4:03 pm

As I was removing the ornaments from our Christmas tree today, I had a blast from the past make it’s way into my brain. “Back in the day”, I used to listen to this funky Christian band called Painted Orange.

They had a song called “Colours” with a lyric line I’ve never been able to forget:

“When I stand alone in God’s perfect light,

He’ll strip away my colours.”

Surely an evergreen tree isn’t as eye-catching to most people when it’s stripped of all the lights and colorful decorations, but is it any less beautiful? In fact, maybe it’s more beautiful because you can see it as exactly as it was created.

Mr. Fred Rogers said, “But Jesus would want us to feel as good as possible about God’s creation within us. And in here [in our minds], we would look through eyes, and see what’s wonderful about our neighbor. I often think about that.”

The closer we get to our Creator, the more stripped of all the colors the world and life has painted and splattered on us. Then we are able to really grasp the true beauty we’ve been all along because God’s creation and plan for us becomes our vibrant color.

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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Regaining Focus December 19, 2011

Filed under: Birds of Prey,Uncategorized — admin @ 9:04 pm

I feel like I should start this blog post with “I’m so sorry.”

 

Who am I apologizing to? I’m not sure. I just know that over the past several months, I very slowly fell into that horrible thing called “busyness” – you know, doing a lot of really good things that take away from what God’s really asked you to do.

Without going into great detail and creating the longest blog post EVER, suffice it to say, my husband very gently sat me down and said, “You need to stop doing this and this.” I was like, “Oh, yeah…you’re right!”

 

BAM! Instant re-focus.

 

The devil’s job isn’t all that hard sometimes. He just sticks a couple thoughts in our heads and then we run with them until our vision is totally blurred and then one day we sit there and go, “So…what was I doing? What am I headed towards? I was passionate about something but I can’t quite put my finger on it…”

 

I realized that in the midst of doing some really “good things”, I lost the drive (and time) to be intentional about my home, my family, my alone time with the Creator and….the Sparrows.

 

I’m amazed at how down-sizing the activities of my life has immediately wiped away that foggy feeling of “What exactly am I doing?” and replaced it with “Oh, yes. I know exactly what I’m to do.”

 

So…here we go. As a leader of the SparrowFly team, I’ve dropped the ball but I’m not discouraged or afraid, because I know there is a passion that burns deep within each of us and it’s just waiting to re-ignite.

 

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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For Some, Every Day is Halloween September 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:05 pm

Yesterday I drove past one of those Limited-Time Only Halloween stores on my way to attack the grocery store with a stack of coupons. I’m used to seeing these stores this time of year but this one really bugged me. This time, I actually got a little chill down my spine. Since there was nothing particularly scary about the store’s sign, I took it as a cue from the Creator to pray.

 

I prayed as I drove, “Lord, it breaks my heart that these stores would use Fear to make money.”

 

Hmmm…Fear. Isn’t that one of the most-used marketing tools at many stores?

“Wear this or you WON’T be accepted.”

“Follow this diet or you will NEVER be attractive again.”

“If your child doesn’t participate in this educational DVD set, they WILL be behind in school.”

“Eat these organic bananas or you WILL get cancer.”

 

My mind went to the Sparrows. So many girls and women bound by fear to a stripper pole.

“I have to strip because it’s the only way I can provide for my family.”

“It’s the only thing I know how to do well.”

“If I leave, someone will hurt me.”

“I have to do this while I can because some day my body won’t be attractive enough…and then I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Oh, sweet Savior. Unwrap the Sparrows who are so wrapped-up by this Fear Monster.

I guess at Halloween fear is more blatantly evil looking with gnarled knuckles, cackle laughs and bloody monsters. But the truth is, Fear is running rampant in so many lives. It’s there to greet us around every turn. When you spot it, get in the habit of launching into prayer for someone you know who’s all caught up in it. And if you’re the one who is caught, ask your Creator to rescue you. His perfect love will come to you.

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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Why Do We Need to Lose “the Weight”? August 3, 2011

Filed under: Covered by His Pinions,Uncategorized — admin @ 2:11 pm

Don’t worry. This isn’t about diets, exercises or any such thing. It’s about burdens.

 

Last night I had a dream. It wasn’t one of those “I have GOT to stop eating Mutton-Lettuce-And-Tomato sandwiches before bed” types of dreams. It was a dream given by God to urge me to pray for a girl I love very much. The thing is, I woke up feeling heavily-burdened for this person. All morning through my quiet time with God and through breakfast, I just felt so heavy for her. I drove to the bank and began singing a song of intercession for her, meaning I prayed for her but as the words came out instead of just saying them, I spontaneously sang them as a melody. As I sang, these words came out of my mouth:

 

“I feel the weight. I feel the weight.

But this weight is not mine to carry.

If I’m holding onto the weight of this burden that means I have to put down the 

shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.

A soldier on the battlefield with no weapon and no defense is useless.

This weight is useless to me, so I lay it down and give it to You and I pick up Faith and the Word of God once again.

And I will use these weapons to fight for her as You take care of the weight.”

Maybe it’s something I knew in my head before but today it moved to my heart. The burdens I feel for the Sparrows and for others I pray for are not mine to carry. If I choose to grab onto those burdens, I have to put down some of my battle equipment…and that’s just not going to work.

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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What Do Chickens and Sparrows Have in Common? July 19, 2011

Filed under: Pushed Out of the Nest,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:39 am

Last night I attended the orientation for my brand new job! I am going to be working a couple nights a week at our local Chick-Fil-A restaurant and I am VERY excited. I understand this is beginning to sound like a blog that just chronicles the “personal musings and happenings of Janet Mylin”, but I promise there’s more to today’s post than my new job announcement…

 

My original intention for applying for the job was simply because I can. Andy and I were talking and I was like, “Hey, maybe I can pick up a few hours somewhere to contribute a little financially.” (My fellow moms understand that feeling of, “I want to help but I don’t want it to affect our family negatively”.) Our friends Bruce and Lori own the Chick-Fil-A here in town and I know they’re incredible God-lovers, so it was a natural place to begin my part-time job search. Believe it or not, they’ve given me an official Chick-Fil-A name tag. Isn’t it pretty?

In the midst of the application process, God began to tell me this is about much more than just bringing in some extra cash and getting me out of the house….

I volunteer once a week at A Woman’s Concern, our local crisis pregnancy clinic. On one particular Monday, I was helping my friend with a weekly meal she has for single moms. These women and girls are incredible. They come against a ton of adversity to provide for their child and pursue their own careers. I’m always so humbled when I’m with them. On this particular Monday, two of the moms were discussing their job difficulties. One explained that in her job at a fast-food restaurant she had to get on her hands and knees and scrub the baseboards of the bathroom. Another young mom was saying how thankful she was at her new job with a pizza company because her old job at a fast-food restaurant had some less-than-desirable working conditions.

 

And it hit me: Compassion.

 

While Chick-Fil-A is known to surpass most fast-food chains in work conditions and company values, I believe God has me working there to grow even more compassion in my life for the Sparrows of the world and to widen my view of those who don’t know their Creator. Then I thought…

 

What if every Christian got a job mainly for the purpose of influencing broken people with the Creator’s love?

 

Of course, I know that’s unrealistic. I’m not saying what I’m doing is some grand gesture of evangelism and that every follower of Christ should work at a quick-service restaurant. But maybe there’s something we could do to intentionally put ourselves in the paths of broken people. I don’t know. It’s just a thought that’s wiggling its way through my mind.

 

In the meantime, I hope and pray I can fulfill Chick-Fil-A’s corporate purpose:

“To Glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.

To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.”

Pray for me as I continue in the journey of loving the Sparrows. Come to the restaurant and it will be “My Pleasure” to serve you…but wait until I know what the heck I’m doing.

 

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

PS-You can follow me on Twitter, if you’re one of those Tweeting types.

 

 

 

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How to Love When You Don’t Feel It 24/7 June 24, 2011

Filed under: Birds of Prey,Uncategorized — admin @ 8:17 am

A couple of weeks ago my pastor, Jonathan Weibel, asked me to speak about the SparrowFly mission at church. I stood in front of these people I love so much and told the story. Afterwards, the thing most people commented on was how my passion inspired them. That was cool, because I wasn’t “trying to be passionate” in the way I delivered the message. Like I said, I was just telling the story.

 

Passion.

 

My passion for the lost and praying for them seems to remain pretty consistent. When I workout, I look at our map of the  world and I pray for different countries (especially China because that’s the country my daughter wants to go to someday). I pray for people as they run or bike in front of our house. I pray for people in the grocery store who appear to be hurting or broken.

 

However, I don’t pray for the Sparrows 24/7. They are not constantly on my heart or in my thoughts. Every time I read something in scripture, I don’t immediately apply it to the Sparrows. I don’t dream about them at night and I don’t see pictures of them in my toast in the morning. In fact, if I’m being totally honest, there are days when I don’t think about them at all. I had a day like that just two days ago. I was beating myself up because I hadn’t spent time on my face weeping for the souls of the Sparrows. I was feeling weighed down with that all-consuming, heavy cloak we know as GUILT. Yuck.

 

But something wonderful happened. Colette, a friend who’s on the SparrowFly team, Facebooked (Is that a verb now??)  me that she had been praying for the Sparrows and God took her to Psalm 25:15-18 to pray over them. When I read that I smiled. The Lord was saying, “Janet, this is why you don’t do things alone. When your passion wavers, it’s burning bright in somebody else. It’s wonderful to share passion. Don’t be jealous when somebody else is burning and you’re flickering. Keep praying and obeying and your passion will be a mighty flame once again.”

 

Now I find comfort in knowing that there’s an incredible group of women who are sharing a passion for the Sparrows. If I’m not on my knees, somebody else probably is. And for those times when I am calling out to the Creator on behalf of those girls, someone else on the team may not be thinking about them at all. And that is just fine.

 

Passion was meant to be shared.

 

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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Why Do We Pray for the Sparrows? June 3, 2011

Filed under: On Wings Like the Eagle - Waiting. — admin @ 7:38 pm
Tags: , ,

Last night I had coffee with a beautiful woman who is currently flying away from some major snares.

I shared with her about SparrowFly and how we feel very much compelled to just pray, gather wisdom and wait for God’s direction.

 

She asked, “How do you get to that point? Like, where you’re willing to just pray and wait?”

 

“Hmmm…good question.”

 

I first started praying for the Sparrows out of obedience. God was continually bringing them into my thoughts so I thought, “Well, I should pray for them, I guess.” That simple act planted deep compassion in my heart.

 

I kept praying because I didn’t know what else to do. I knew the Sparrows were on God’s heart so I just kept talking to Him about them. That all began July 2010. Almost a year ago.

 

So, now there’s a group of us who gather and pray.

 

Why don’t we just spring into action?

Because we love the Sparrows. We love them so much that we wouldn’t dare take action out of haste, knowing that God’s timing is something we can’t manufacture on our own.

I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s really hard to pray and wait. It goes against our “fast food” society in a big way. But we are determined that the power of prayer is bigger than anything.

 

The day we left for Las Vegas, my friend, Chris Heinz sent me a word he received in prayer that morning. Here it is:

“For I will make Sparrow Fly like a model for others. For the foundation is prayer–time spent before me. Others will find creative strategies and solutions on their own, but I know that you will seek me first, hearing secrets from heaven, and that is what sets you apart. I say instead of strategies, I will let you hear the cries and murmurs on the sparrow’s hearts. I say rather than nice solutions, I will give you their hearts. Prepare for an outpouring of brokenness birthed from intercession. I will cause a season of tears, even for the plight of the broken, to fall upon you. And you will come to identify with the objects of your intercession, these girls created in my image. Come before the throne, and I will grant my favor. Indeed I have eyes for the sparrow.”

I guess that’s it in a really big, beautiful nutshell.

We’re going to keep on praying. Wanna join us?

 

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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Strip Church Training Update May 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:03 pm

“You’re gonna LOVE Las Vegas!”

That’s what the lady I sat next to on the plane said to me on the way here.

Well, she’s right. I do love it. But not in the way she meant. My newly found love for the broken people in this city will compel me to pray. Afterall, isn’t that the best kind of love?

 

The Strip Church training was phenomenal, to say the least. Harmony Dust, founder of Treasures ministry, was our instructor for most of the conference. And I’m going to tell you, this girl is the real deal. She’s 100% honest, transparent and incredibly wise. Not to mention, she’s a great communicator. My friend and I were so comforted to know (after listening to the basics of starting a ministry to girls in the sex trade) that we were on the right track. Without knowing any “rules” or suggestions from others in this type of ministry, we have been guided by God in the areas of prayer, accountability, authority, submission, mission statement and creativity. And on top of that, we have been challenged and inspired in how we approach ministry to the Sparrows in our local strip club.

 

Last night we went out in teams to do strip club outreach here in Las Vegas. The goal of the outreach (and the model for how Harmony does strip club outreach with Treasures) was to give small gift bags containing simple things like lip gloss,  jewelry and the Treasures website to the dancers at each club. You do this by approaching the guy at the door and asking if you can give the girls some gifts. Sometimes they invite you in to directly hand the gifts to the girls and sometimes they promise to make sure the girls get the gifts later. Of course, there are times when they reject the gifts altogether. My friend and I were on two different teams but we went out at the same time. Her team actually went into a club and she was able to have a positive interaction with a dancer. My team just stood outside and gave the gift bags to the club House Mom who promised to deliver the gifts throughout the night. Harmony wisely reminded us that this is a “seed-sowing” ministry. It’s an investment. Sometimes you see the fruit and sometimes you don’t. I was deeply satisfied to know that the girls will receive those gifts and, for at least one moment, feel like someone cares about them.

 

I will post more about what I’ve learned here as time goes on. There is much to think about.

I will say that I was especially moved to realize that human trafficking must be occurring on college campuses, especially on football weekends. This has stirred something within me, being that we live in a college town.

We have all day tomorrow to explore and relax and then we fly home on Saturday.

 

Thank you so much for praying. Please continue to pray. I only want to do what God wants us to do – nothing more and nothing less.

 

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

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SparrowFly now has a “Mission Statement”! May 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:51 am

My friend, Lynn, has a husband and his name is Dan. Aside from having a voice that sounds eerily similar to Kevin Costner, Dan is a wise guy…not in the Three Stooges sense of the word, but he actually is a guy who is wise. (He has a rockin’ blog, too.) Through his wife, Dan urged us to come up with a Mission Statement for this ministry. A Mission Statement is a handy thing to have because it kind of acts like a filter. So, if an opportunity or idea comes along, the team can sit down and say, “Well, let’s see if it fits our mission. If it doesn’t, let’s give this opportunity to someone else. If it does, let’s pray and pursue.”

We felt our statement needed to be concise, specific and clear to anyone who reads it…and here it is:

“The desire and current mission of SparrowFly is to reflect the Creator’s love, in prayer and in action, for the men and women who participate in our local strip club.”

 

At our last SparrowFly gathering, we wrote down any gifts and abilities we have that may be of use to minister to the Sparrows. Among the talents on that list are: cooking, financial planning, mentoring, housing, compassion, babysitting, cosmetology services, encouragement, sewing, hiking, biking, empathy, love for animals, laughter, singing, ability to confront hard situations, gardening, healthy eating and the greatest of these is LOVE.

I held back tears as I listened to those lists. I could just see God taking every one of those abilities and using it like a tool in His hands to love the Sparrows. The Creator is exactly that…Creative!

 

As I said in the last blog, two of us on the team are preparing for a trip to Las Vegas. We leave on Tuesday for a training conference with The Strip Church. We’re quite curious about what’s in store for us at that conference. People keep asking, “Are you ready for your trip?” I’m not sure how you get “ready” for a trip like that, but I have to assume we are ready because God has arranged it.

So, yeah…we’re ready.

We have a lot of people praying for us as we go, but if you would like to add us to your prayer list, please don’t hesitate. Also, pray for our families while we’re gone. I will blog and Tweet during our time in Vegas to keep you updated on what we experience.

 

I’m asking that God would allure the Sparrows and speak tenderly to them…turning their trouble into hope.

Not a sparrow falls without the Father knowing,

Janet

 


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