Tag: Jesus Christ

Redemption, Baptism and Her Real Name – Celebrating A Dancer’s Salvation Story

“Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43: 18-19

Stef_JenaeThis past Sunday it could not have been more clear to me that God was doing a new thing and it was springing up before my very eyes! I had the privilege of witnessing the baptism of one of our new friends that we met in one of the strip clubs in Indianapolis.  She actually came to church with us for the first time on Easter Sunday because, Stefanie, a former dancer who is now part of our Stripped Free team was sharing her redemption story in each of our services. (Read her amazing story here!)

We had developed such a sweet friendship with this woman and during recent visits to the clubs she would begin to cry as we would talk with her. She told us she was so unhappy and she didn’t understand what was going on in her life. She didn’t see any way out. We told her she should come to church with us to hear Stefanie’s story. We reminded her that the God who rescued Stef was the same God who wanted to rescue her. Over the next few weeks we prayed and kept reaching out to her hoping she would take us up on our offer.  Sure enough she came walking into the church right before the start of our Saturday night Easter service!  Tears flowed down her precious cheeks as she heard Stef’s story and the tears continued through each song that was sung and the Word that was preached. We could see God’s transforming work happening right in front of us.

At the end of the service there was a time for people to commit their hearts to Christ for the very first time.  Stef looked at our friend and whispered, “The pastor was talking right to you, wasn’t he?”  Tears flowed again as our friend acknowledged that she wanted to enter into this life-changing relationship, so Stef prayed with her right there on the front row of the church as she made her confession and asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. Praise God!!!

Something else very special happened in that sacred space and tender moment. You see, before that church service we never knew our friend’s real name.  I’ve learned in my short time of going into clubs that all strippers have a “stripper name.” No one else in the clubs knows the real names of these girls. To get a dancer to tell you her real name is the same as her sharing a piece of her heart and that’s not going to happen inside the clubs. The work these girls do is devastating to their hearts, souls and psyches, even if they don’t admit it. They dance under other names as a survival technique and a way of protecting themselves. It’s a way of keeping people out of the inner recesses of their hearts. So before Stef prayed with our friend, she asked and found out for the first time what her real name was. What a beautiful moment, to finally know her by the name God has known her by all along. No more hiding, no more feelings of shame, no more bondage. Jesus set her free!!

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She never returned to the club after praying to receive Christ. She quit her job instantly and we began to walk this new journey with her. Please continue to pray for all of us as she begins to rebuild her life. She’s not doing this alone. She has God and the Stripped Free team is working hard to be His hands and feet in her life.

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And the story just keeps getting better! Our beautiful friend got baptized this past Sunday on Mother’s Day. Dead to sin and alive in Christ! Hallelujah!!! We are so thankful for our new sister and for the One who has the power to make all of us new!!! Thanks for partnering with us in prayer. We can’t tell you how we appreciate it! You can join the celebration and follow our journey by liking our page on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

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Strippers Can’t Be Saved

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Yes, that title was a comment in response to one of my previous blogs about our new Stripped Free ministry. But before I get into all that let me just say the last six weeks are a bit of a blur. They have been a whirlwind and I’m still trying to sort through all of the events in my own mind. I’ve been in ministry in some form or another for almost twenty-five years now and never have I experienced anything like what has taken place the last few weeks with the launch of this new ministry. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.

It started with me putting out a little blog titled, “You’re Doing WHAT???” Now you need to understand something. I’ve been blogging, albeit sporadically, for the last four or five years. My husband, Brian, would say one or two blogs a year doesn’t count as “blogging,” but hey, I was trying!  I had managed to get a following of a whopping fifty readers for my “hugely popular” blog and I was fine with that. (and thank you for reading!) A few months ago I decided it was time to step up my writing efforts so I wrote six blogs in one day to have on the shelf for future use. One was about a new ministry to strippers in the clubs of Indianapolis where I live. I had no intentions of releasing that blog right away. I wasn’t sure about this new ministry or how people would respond to it, so I kept it on the shelf for a few weeks until my partner in the strip ministry, Stef, saw it and read it. She said, “This is really good and you need to put it out there and let people know what we’re doing in the clubs.” I said, “Really? Now?”  She convinced me, so I published the blog on a Tuesday morning intending to make this “grand” announcement to my robust readership of fifty. I then went about my day. Later that morning the texts from Brian started. “Have you seen your blog stats? You’re at 300 reads.” I texted back, “Wow, that’s impressive for me.”  Well, that was just the beginning.  At the end of it all roughly 5,000 people read that blog. What????  Believe me, no one was more stunned than I was. I told Brian, “I guess we’re launching this ministry now!”

The blog led to different interviews, which in turn led to many interesting comments about this new ministry. It turns out loving women in strips clubs in the name of Jesus is pretty controversial.  Who knew?!  I’ve heard everything from accolades to condemnation and that is just from my Christian brothers and sisters. It’s been quite an eye-opener.

I feel compelled to address a few things. While I appreciate the kind words, I don’t deserve accolades. I’m just trying to do what Jesus calls each of us to do as His followers: to love God and love people and that means ALL people.There are many who have been involved in different strip ministries in the city of Indianapolis far longer than I have. I am learning a lot and am so grateful to have others to turn to for prayer and advice.

By the same token, I’ve been surprised at the condemnation. Now in all fairness, some obviously chose not to read the original blog, which explained in detail what I was doing. Some only read the title and the first line and jumped to the conclusion that I was actually going into the clubs to BE a stripper under the guise of a “strip ministry.” Oh yes, there are more than a few who think I have lost my mind and am stripping in the name of Jesus. I know. It’s laughable.

But then there are those who made comments that not only made me scratch my head, but also were so contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ it was mind blowing. Comments like, “Strippers can’t be saved,” and the ever popular, “You are the devil’s helper.” Really? After reading those comments, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I opted instead to find living proof that those statements are inaccurate and a lie from the pit of hell. And yes, those comments were also from some of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I didn’t have to look very far for living proof. I’m walking with someone every day who is proof and so much more. My friend, Stef, is an ex-dancer who has been transformed by the power of God. She courageously shared her story on Easter Sunday during our church services. She is living and breathing proof that strippers CAN be saved and that God loves everyone regardless of where they find themselves. I am so thankful for her being the trophy of God’s grace that she is. Where would any of us be without the transforming grace of Jesus?

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God also gave me the privilege of watching one of the dancers from the clubs we go into give her heart to Him during the Easter services at our church a little over a week ago. I’ll talk more about that amazing and joyous experience in my next blog so stay tuned!

Luke 5:29-32 says:

Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?” Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” The Message

I only want to introduce people to the Great Physician, the One who can bring healing, freedom and ultimately heart-transformation. My heart’s desire is to please my Father by inviting others to experience His life-changing grace and love.

To my family members in the Church I would just say this: Please don’t think better or worse of me than I am. I actually would prefer you not think of me in this at all. This ministry has nothing to do with me. Every single thing that happens with Stripped Free happens by the hand of Almighty God and He IS moving. I would, however, ask one thing of all of you, especially my sisters in Christ: Will you join me? Will you join me in getting your hands dirty in the name of Jesus? Maybe it’s with a strip ministry or maybe it’s in a completely different area, but can you imagine what would happen if all the women sitting in the pews of our churches would take a step out of their comfort zones and love someone who is in need and different than they are? I get excited just thinking about it!

I know there are many who are already doing so much in Jesus’ name, but I wonder if there are others that are like I was, afraid and not quite sure where to start. There is such a huge need and there are many organizations that are desperate for help. I can say that I’ve learned more about myself and about my Savior by taking this step out and joining Him where He is working than I have at any other time in my life.  If God has set you free FROM something in your life, I guarantee He has set you free FOR something. It’s just a matter of asking Him to reveal what that is!

Continue to pray for me and I will pray for you. I would also love to hear what God is calling you to do in the comment section below. God has great things in store and I can’t wait to hear all the amazing life-changing stories to come!

Let’s Connect On Twitter: @KimTabor and @StrippedFree

Be Joyful Always?

FinallyFree124 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Be joyful always?  Really?  This has been a tough week in so many different ways.  Every time I turn on the news I’m reminded of the lives and homes that were lost in OK.  So much devastation.  There are senseless killings here and abroad…..one person horrifically claiming “an eye for an eye” as a reason for brutally murdering an innocent man walking down the street in London.

Then there are things happening in our personal lives.  Really tough things.  A sweet friend of mine had been praying for a liver transplant for her mom and it looked like God was working to make that happen.  Tiny miracles were happening along the way and she and her mom were both clinging to that each day.  Over the weekend her mom suddenly took a turn for the worse and she passed away a few days ago before a liver became available.  Be joyful always?

Joy in the midst of the storm is only possible with Christ.  I don’t know any other way to say it.  Is it difficult to live above our circumstances at times, you better believe it is.  But it IS possible and I’ve got to choose to have enough faith to live that out in my own life.  The verse from 1 Thessalonians wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t possible.  God’s not a game player using us as His pawns for entertainment.  He wouldn’t tell us to live a certain way if it wasn’t attainable.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS!  And I thank God for that!  It’s only when I keep my eyes fixed on Him that I have any chance at all of living above my momentary troubles still finding joy in life.

Today you may find yourself on a mountaintop or in the midst of a valley.  Either way, I would love to hear what is bringing you joy today?  Sometimes it’s good to just write it down as a reminder to ourselves.  You can comment below.

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