The One {And a small, free, private retreat opportunity}

by Kari on April 8, 2013


“What if God planted RENEW Church just for Julie?”

Several of my close friends have posed this question to me. Of course I smile because it is the same question the Holy Spirit has posed to me more times than I can count, in different ways.

It’s a fair question. Would God take a family and send them on a wild goosechase of selling their home and seeking after an Isaiah 58 lifestyle, plop them in another city, on a street corner in front of Bus Stop 32, and have them plant a little ragtag church full of odd characters (I say this with endearment, guys–we’re included in this description!) patched loosely together by a passion for the gospel and serving the least?

Would He go through all this effort just to find The One drug-addicted woman and lure her to His love through this church’s fumbling efforts of generosity and grace? 

Is that it?

If it is, is it worth it? Just for The One?


A few weeks ago I had the hair-brained idea to bake up a huge batch of The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls and hand them out to homeless folks Easter morning. Sure, there’s no better news than “He is risen!” but “Here’s-an-ooey-gooey-buttery-handful-of-sweet-sticky-goodness-because-Jesus-loves-you!” is a really close second. So I had this grand idea to find out where they’d be sleeping and go find a whole slew of them.

But when I sought how to find them I was informed  that a large church was already hosting a huge pancake feed at their church building, so “all of them will be going there.” When I asked if we could just go out looking for some on the street, as I wanted to go to them, she said, “You can, but you probably won’t find any.”  Though I felt deflated at first, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “If only for The One … go.”

So we piled into the car Easter morning. My kids sat in back and my mother-in-law in the passenger seat holding the pan of ooey-goodness.

After weaving in and out of the downtown streets under the railroad, we caught sight of him.

The One. 

He sat alone, on the ground, in the shadows, hidden back in the corner of a vacant lot lined with dumpsters from the nearby produce stand. His head was down. I wheeled the car around, loaded up a napkin with rolls, pulled out a babywipe for cleaning his hands after, and stepped out of the car.

I stood and looked across the long, empty lot where he sat. Between us lay shattered glass and strewn trash. I was wearing bright yellow and white and high-heeled sandals. My Easter best. My eyes blurred as I stepped over the broken bottles.

He looked up. His eyes widened. I smiled. The sun poured through the trees.

He watched me walk across the lot.

“Good morning, Sir. Would you like a warm cinnamon roll?”

He smiled, mostly toothless, probably in his 60s, handsome.

“Wow. Well, yes. Yes, Ma’am I’d love one!” I held out the rolls and a baby-wipe. He reached out his hands, open, palms up, black with grime. They brushed mine, every so slightly, as I handed him the napkin-bundle.. “They’re kind of messy,” I explained.

I looked into his eyes and smiled again. Yes. Kind of messy. All of it.

“Sir, do you know that it’s Easter?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Do you know Jesus loves you, Sir?”

He smiled again. “Thank you, Ma’am.”

I said goodbye, walked back to the car. Coming out of the shadows, the light of the sun was so bright my teary eyes couldn’t see.

But I could see clearer than ever.

He was The One.

At The Faith & Culture Writer’s Conference William Paul Young, author of The Shack, spoke on the importance of The One. Considering his book has been read by nearly 100 million people, it’s surprising to interact with him and see his genuine concern for each person he meets. He knows no handshakes, only hugs. He treats the college-freshman sound guy the same as the other award-winning authors. And one of Young’s main points was that if God wants you to write a book for one person, is it worth it?

Am I willing to write a book for one person?

Am I willing to chase after one ridiculous baby goat?

Am I willing to hand out just one cinnamon roll?

And could it be that sometimes the crowd must be small so that that one person can be found?

In the words of John Piper, “There are saving works that God will only do through small churches and ordinary people, not through large churches and more sophisticated people.”

Both large and small churches are needed. Both large and small events, retreats, conferences. We need large-scale reform and we need to walk across the street and talk to our neighbor. We need huge pancake feeds and a single cinnamon roll. I’ve been impacted by the 90,000+ attended simulcasts by Beth Moore, and I’ve been impacted by my husband, housemate and I quietly keeling together, faces to the floor, to pray. I value the energy of a large group, and I value the sacred intimacy of small circles.

But above all, hopefully, I’m learning to value The One.

Because I am The One. 

I have been and continue to be The One. This past weekend I was the broken woman, the prostitute washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. I was so convicted of my own filthiness at one point all I could do was escape to the prayer chapel and lie on my face before Jesus. I was that woman. I am her. And Jesus continues to seek  me. 

Those who understand they are The One are more likely to seek after other Ones.

I am The One.

You are The One.

Our simple task is to move through the world with eyes to see The Ones God brings across our path.

Is it worth it?


{Praying for spiritual eyes peeled for The Ones you may encounter this week. May He chase you down with His extravagant love. Thanks for reading, and please check out the opportunity below.}

*I’d like to invite any of you local readers, if you wish, to a small, private opportunity for renewal — a short, one-night retreat April 19-20. There’s just a few of us–some women from our church plant, some friends, The Sonflowerz (the precious sister-duo worship leaders from Colorado Springs), and me. I’ll be teaching from God’s Word, we’ll worship, pray, listen. You can interact with others or you can retreat into the woods. You can hike or nap.  Seek fellowship or solitude. It’s free, it’s relaxed, and there’s just room for a few, so if you are interested, please contact me here and I’ll share more information with you.