Dear Friends of Oak Tree Ministries –

I found myself getting angry in the middle of a HeartSync … the man I had in front of me was in a memory when he was about 10. He’d come in telling me he had been totally blocked off for several months in his relationships at home, and in his relationship with God. He kept seeing Jesus like He was behind a glass window. We prayed, took the time to acknowledge Who the Real Jesus is, asked Him to go to the place in his heart the block was coming from and this memory came up.

He’d been at a vacation Bible school as a 10 year old … the leader had promised all the kids at the beginning of the week that he would give them a big prize at the end if they memorized a passage of scripture that ran a few chapters long, and my friend had done it. At the beginning of the week a pretty cool toy had been up at the front of the room as the leader shared the promise for a prize. And more toys were added each day during the week … at the end they stretched across half the platform. My friend was getting pretty excited – he had a younger brother and a couple of sisters, and there never was much money in the family for extras. Maybe one toy at Christmas would be it. This would be a treasure trove for them all.

The leader called him up to the front at the end of the week with the rest of the kids and the staff from the church watching. He showed him all the toys, told him he could have them all … or … the leader held up a new Bible and told him he could have that instead. My friend chose the toys. (He already had 3 Bibles at home.)

And the leader …??? He opened the Bible and told him there was a $100 bill inside that he could have had, and he had missed the real treasure … and he shamed my friend for “making a bad decision,” because who would chose toys over “The Word of God”????

That’s when I got mad. I sat with it for a moment and then told him, “You know, this makes me angry. I am so sorry that happened to you. I’m a leader in the Church, and I want to ask you to forgive me on behalf of the Church for treating you this way. I am so, so very sorry.” Something changed in him right then … no one had seen that little boy before. We sat with that for a bit.

Then I asked the Real Jesus where He was in all of this … through the whole memory my friend kept seeing that picture of Jesus behind a window. As we looked for the Real Jesus, He was sitting cross-legged beside that little boy. And He sent that religious Jesus, the one behind the window, completely away. And then …

… then He leaned over and whispered, “Take the toys. Take the toys.” Jesus was grinning. And in the midst of that He opened His wounded hands and pulled out all the pain my friend had carried for so many years. The blocks were gone (embarrassment, shame, disappointment, betrayal and deceit) … the deep part of his heart that had needed to keep him safe didn’t need to do that any more.

Jesus knew my friend’s heart … completely and totally. That wound hadn’t been from Him, not at all. He was there all along, knowing my friend’s heroic heart, working hard for a great prize he could share with his family. “Take the toys.”

Thank you for praying with us … God is so good and we get to see Him work so deeply in so many lives! Your prayers make a difference.

As you pray this month, please remember the following …

… schedules are still busy and full. Pray for us to be listening closely to the Lord for His plans, not ours!

… pray as we prepare for the mission trip to Romania in July. We’re asking God to minister to leaders there through us.

… pray for us as we work with AJ and his family for the things they are going through. Pray for AJ’s wisdom. Again, from an earthly standpoint things are not good. I’ll share more when things are more definitive … several have inquired directly, and feel free if you want more details … we’re not comfortable in putting them out in this more public forum yet. Again, please feel free to ask me or Beth directly.

We appreciate and love you all. We couldn’t do this without you. We’re praying for you that you have your own deep encounters with Jesus and His heart for you. Take the toys!

Bill Irwin
Oak Tree Ministries
410 Beatrice Ct., Ste. A
Brentwood, CA 94513