by Derek Packard | Jul 14, 2016 | 24/7 worship, ASL, community, house of prayer, News Update
Dan & Carole lead the ASL ministry
I was running late. If I just don’t make eye contact with anyone, I can make it to Subway, quickly get in and out with some food, and make it to class on time. And then it came.
“Hello, can you spare some change?”
Hurriedly, I decided to keep my head down and walk past without acknowledging the plea. I was late, I reasoned to myself, and had a very good excuse to pass him by. Then, after walking about 100 yards from this homeless man on the street, God gripped my heart with compassion. I felt like He literally poured His heart for this man into mine; I could not keep walking.
I turned around and said, “I don’t have any change but I am going to Subway. May I buy you a sandwich?”
He replied, “Well, I have cataracts, and I really need a pair of sunglasses.”
“Okay. You go in the dollar store and choose your sunglasses. I will get the sandwiches, then come back to buy the glasses for you.”
After waiting in a long line at Subway, I got the sandwiches and came back. The man, whose name I later learned is Jeffery, had a surprised look on his face like he had the thought, “She came back!” I asked him if he had chosen a pair of glasses to which he responded, “ Yes, ma’am.” We walked back in the dollar store, and in the first counter, I saw a pair of discarded sunglasses that did not belong. Jeffrey was used to disappointment.
I turned to him, and made eye contact. Smiling, I said, “Hello. My name is Carole. How are you today?”
Let me take you back a few days in my life to put this story in context with God’s amazing, teaching moments. I am a full-time missionary here in Washington DC with David’s Tent. Once a month, for a week, all of David’s Tent staff gather together in the same room and receive teachings on different topics to challenge, encourage, inspire and allow Holy Spirit to fill us. This week, Jason Hershey, asked my husband and me to teach on “How to Study the Bible”. We decided to teach from Philemon. Each one of you should stop and read this book. It is literally just one page of the Bible, a short 25 verses, but it is packed with gems for us today!
We spent two days just diving into the book. The first day we focused on Observation: asking ourselves what does the book say? During this part of the study we ask questions like who, what, where, when and how. We also look for repeated themes and words in Philemon, such as love, beloved, and my heart. Other key words reveal how we are all family in the kingdom of God as Paul uses brother, sister, and my child. Overall the purpose of observation is to catch the overall atmosphere of the book.
On the second day, the class dove into Interpretation: asking ourselves what did the text mean to the original readers? We practiced removing the cultural filters in our minds that influence our interpretation and, instead, putting ourselves in the shoes of a 1st century believer in the house church of Philemon. What would this letter mean to them? Why did Paul write this letter? What was Onesimus thinking returning to his former Master? Would Philemon receive him as Paul is asking him to now that he is a believer? What would the Roman soldiers do if they find out that Philemon might not punish his slave for running away when legally, according to Roman law, the slave should be severely punished if not killed? On this teaching day, my husband focused on helping the David’s Tent staff think about what the people of this day, living in their culture, would be thinking and consequently, would be reacting.
On the third day, the day I met Jeffrey, I would be leading the class into Application: what does this mean to me and how can I apply it to my life? As a class, we were going to pull out universal truths that can be applied to anyone, in any culture, during any time period, and then talk about what that truth means to them and how they can apply it to their lives. I have personally studied and taught this book before, but God had more to teach me. The night before teaching application, God was convicting my heart for Kingdom truths to penetrate my soul and being. Truths like “In Christ, all believers are equal in value” and “as believers we have a choice and must choose to love”.
These were the truths that God had put before me as I walked past Jeffery on my way to teach class. I knew I had to stop. I had to allow the Word of God to bring LIFE CHANGE in me as that is the reason we study the Bible! We want the truths to change who we are and make us more and more like Jesus. That is why I turned around. Our Father moved on my heart for compassion, because God loves Jeffery just as much as He loves me and cared deeply for Jeffrey’s eyes to see some relief from the hot summer DC sun. In that same moment, my Father was demonstrating His love for me by teaching me to care about the things He cares about. My heavenly Dad was beside me, instructing me to apply what He was teaching me in Philemon: that all people, whether homeless or living in a mansion, are of equal value in God’s eyes. God cares for them all. He was showing me that right there I had the choice to love.
I love this testimony because it happened on my way to one of the other David Tent’s community houses, a familiar road I travel. Now, every time I drive to this house, passing that Subway, I remember and pray for Jeffery. I thank God for the opportunity that I had to partner with Him in Jeffery’s life by buying Jeffrey a pair of sunglasses and praying for him that day. I am also grateful for how my life was changed. I grew in understanding the Father’s heart of compassion by studying the Word of God.
Dan & Carole McClelland
by Ryan Montgomery | Jul 12, 2016 | 24/7 worship, ASL, house of prayer, jason, News Update
It was a warm Saturday afternoon, and the black gospel band on stage at David’s Tent was pumping praises to Jesus with exuberant energy and joy. I found myself irresistibly drawn to clap and sing along, and as I looked around I noticed dozens of people gathering to do the same. There was a group of Chinese tourists, a couple of DC locals on a bike ride, a Muslim family from somewhere in the middle-east, and many others. It was clear that most of the people at the tent were passers-by and not people who came to the National Mall with the intention of attending David’s Tent. But the sound of worship at the tent attracted them irresistibly and they stopped to listen, filled with curiosity and with smiles on their faces. Our staff warmly welcomed those who stopped by, and many stayed for long conversations about Jesus or received prayer. The good news of the gospel was shared over and over that afternoon, and I know that wouldn’t have happened without the draw of the worship. That afternoon sticks out in my mind as a perfect example of the power of public worship to present Jesus to the world.
In my last blog, (Why here? Part 1) I shared how we worship in Washington DC because it is the place of highest honor in our nation. I talked about the identity of a capital city as a center for worship, and how Jesus is worthy of a national offering of praise. Our desire above all things is to make Jesus central and bless His heart! Today, I’ll continue on this theme of “Why Here?” and share how making Jesus central is such a powerful avenue to sharing the gospel.
When you think of a city center you generally think of a bustling downtown filled with all kinds of people. Washington DC completely fits that description, and it’s not just filled with Americans. Every nation but four maintains an embassy in Washington DC (and two of those four still maintain diplomatic representation)—more than any other city on earth! Over 20 million visitors came to Washington in 2014, and almost 2 million of those were international. The nations truly gather in Washington, perhaps more so than anywhere else on earth.
In the midst of all this, David’s Tent proclaims the worth of Jesus round the clock in public song. Night and day, the sound of worship at David’s Tent never stops as we declare how beautiful, wonderful, and loving our Savior is. And this isn’t just to bless His heart, though that is the primary reason. Matthew 5:15-16 says:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The worship at David’s Tent shines as a light pointing to Jesus, even as the worship draws His presence near. Jason Hershey says in his book: “This act of worship releases a Spirit of revelation so that even the lost get to see the beauty of Jesus.” And it’s true! The beauty of Jesus is captivating to every heart. And it’s not just who He is, but what He has done. Psalms 118:15 says: “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” This is such an attractive sound! The sound of joy and victory stands in sharp contrast to the sound of hopelessness so prevalent in the world.
Often, people attracted to the tent ask questions: Why do we sing? Why is Jesus worthy of this lavish devotion? How do we have such hope and joy in the midst of turbulent times? Questions like these give us the perfect opportunity to share the gospel with people eager to hear. Surprisingly often this may be the first time someone has heard the good news of Jesus in their entire life! Many of the curious who are drawn to the tent come from other nations where the gospel is not allowed to be shared openly. We’ve had the opportunity to share the message of salvation through the blood of Jesus with visitors from Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Tibet, Somalia, and all over the world. And many have accepted Him as Savior and Lord!
Jesus says in John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” He was speaking of His resurrection from the dead, but I believe the principle applies to public worship as well. When Jesus is lifted up on our praises and we declare His resurrection from the dead, I know that He will draw the nations to the new life found in Him.
I can think of few places busier and more bustling with people from around the world than the National Mall in summer. And this is where we have the privilege to host David’s Tent! In this central place among the nations, our humble white tent stands as a shining light and public witness to Jesus, 24/7. This is what it means to make Jesus central. Not only to give Him the place of highest honor, but to present Him to the world in all of His glorious beauty. Jesus deserves to be central in our cities, our churches, our lives, and in every soul. Hallelujah!
I recognize that not all of us can come stand as a witness to Jesus on the National Mall. So my encouragement to you is to stand as a public witness to Jesus wherever you are, with the sound of joy and victory bursting from your life! He has made us new, and He has made us glad! Let us boldly declare His worth and His beauty in line at the grocery store, at the swimming pool, at our workplace, when we’re waiting at the DMV, and in every area of life. The message of Jesus is good news to a lost and broken world!
In part 3 of this blog I’ll explore the third primary reason I believe we hold David’s Tent on the National Mall in Washington DC: unity among the church. Once again, I also highly recommend checking out Jason Hershey’s book “David’s Tent: Jesus is Worthy of a Nation’s Praise” for further reading. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing with you again!
Click to access 2014_Washington_DC_Visitor_Statistics.pdf
by Jason Hershey | Jul 9, 2016 | 24/7 worship, ASL, community, house of prayer, jason, News Update, Uncategorized
We are all grieved at the continuing deadly violence in our country. A nation is crying out! The other morning this Headline showed up on CNN, and very much grabbed my heart.
ONLY JESUS can heal America!
It won’t be the next President or even the hot evangelist. Nor the amazing mega church or innovative new inventions. Nor will it be the most popular worship band or strategy to reach our city. Though God does use and work through people, it will only be Jesus.
Jesus is the only One.
America, please please please turn to Him and be saved.
“If my people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways and seek my face, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
There must be more prayer meetings than protests. If we as a nation are going to cry out, may we cry out to the One who is Mighty to save. He alone can save us.
Heal us Jesus.
by Derek Packard | Jun 28, 2016 | ASL, 24/7 worship
Divine Appointments are the best! Hello, my name is Carole McClelland and my husband, Daniel, and I lead the American Sign Language (ASL) house for David’s Tent.
Even though neither of us are Deaf, God placed a passion in our hearts and a calling on our life to make Him known within the Deaf population. Our staff, a mixture of hearing and Deaf who share this vision, all live in one house in NE Washington DC. The unique thing about our house, and our watch when we are at the tent, is that our common language in conversation and worship is ASL. Every day we serve at the tent for 3.5 hours, worshipping in ASL, and if there is a guest praise team scheduled during our watch, we always have an interpreter signing along with that team.
When we are not at the tent, our focus is knowing God and making God known in the Deaf community here in DC. Since our staff house is near Gallaudet University, the only all Deaf university in the world, our team has many opportunities to make God known in the Deaf community.
We can be found having lunch with a college student from Gallaudet University, attending Deaf social activities, building relationships one-on- one, encouraging the youth at a young adult Bible study in MD, or sharing at a Deaf church in VA. No matter what the activity, our heart is to see the Deaf grow in their personal relationship with Jesus. What a joy it is when we have the opportunity to partner with God in this way through a David’s Tent encounter.
I would like to share just one story to illustrate how God delights in setting up divine appointments for us as we follow Him. If we plug into Him, His networking system is amazing!
For this story, it all started with a sweatshirt. I often wear my David’s Tent sweatshirt when out in the community, but only once in nine months has a stranger come up to me when I wore it to tell me they knew about the Tent. On this one particular day, it was a couple, Miriam and Aaron. It turns out this family knows the Hershey family from their homeschooling group and were familiar with the 24/7 worship occurring at David’s Tent. After we talked for ten minutes and met each other’s children, this couple and I went our separate ways.
Later that day I texted Kimberlee Hershey sharing that I met her friends, Miriam and Aaron. In response, Kimberlee texted back saying how awesome that was since their youngest son was born Deaf. She added that the family had decided to learn ASL but were overwhelmed with it all. “What!” I thought to myself, “Their son is deaf, and it never came up in our conversation!” I always talk about the Deaf community, yet, on this day, Miriam, Aaron and I did not discuss sign language. Bummer!
It felt like a missed opportunity. However, our heavenly Dad was not finished with His incredible, divine appointments. The following day at David’s Tent, Aaron, the husband, walked into the Tent to take a break from his jog. Of course, it was during our watch! He approached me and said hello. Without hesitating I said, “Kimberlee Hershey told me your son is deaf.” I went on to tell him that Dan and I both know ASL and led a ministry in DC for young, deaf adults to know Jesus more. We talked for a while about the Deaf community and language. Encouraged, he shared the signs he knew and asked me to teach him a few more.
Before leaving the Tent, we exchanged emails. Since that day, we have been over to their house twice for dinner, and Dan has played basketball with Aaron and a Deaf man that Aaron randomly met. God has brought us alongside Aaron and Miriam to encourage them that they are amazing parents to Jesse, their youngest son, and to give them hope through our stories that God is reaching the Deaf.
You see, their greatest desire is for Jesse to know Jesus in a real and personal way. However, as they did research on Christianity in the Deaf culture, they were disheartened to learn what a low percentage of Deaf follow Jesus.
Then they met us. We could give testimony to God’s living hope that through their actions and through living out their faith, Jesse will grow up knowing Jesus.
Our amazing Father, who understands their parents’ hearts, did not just leave it with our assurances though. Through our contacts, we were able to connect Miriam with another hearing, Christian mother who went through the exact same thing 25 years ago when she learned that her son was Deaf. That Deaf boy grew to be an amazing man of God who pursues Jesus with his whole heart.
We had this connection because this young man, Caleb, serves full-time with us here at David’s Tent. He is boldly proclaiming that Jesus is worthy of worship and all praise everyday in his nation’s capital through ASL worship!
I love having the opportunity to work with our Dad to bring his kingdom here in Washington DC, and I love his divine appointments!