As I prayer walked the soon-to-open Hope House, I wandered into what was once the master bedroom. There were still a few belongings of the former occupants scattered in boxes around the room and in the closets.

Just in front of the closet door was an open box containing a pair of shoes. I knew at first glance that they belonged to the former resident, Rev. Dennis DeLong, for the new Hope House building belongs to him and his wife Jan. Tears came to my eyes as I reflected on the life and ministry of the one who had worn those shoes.

Pastor Dennis was married with children when he answered the call to ministry, and he worked two and three jobs while he attended seminary. Life was hard. Once ordained, he moved from place to place to pastor churches in several states—not an easy life either. Sadly, he and his wife now reside in a nursing home because of health and dementia problems. Pastor Dennis, though, has not lost his sense of calling. He spends his days visiting other nursing home residents and sharing the gospel. In some ways, he has become the resident “chaplain” despite his issues. Isn’t the Lord amazing!

With their father no longer able to live alone in the house, Son Kyle–the Rev. Kyle DeLong–and his family offered the house to Trading Ford Baptist Church to be used as a transition home for women coming out of substance abuse treatment centers. They are certain that Dad would want his house used for ministry if he were able to make that decision. After a few weeks of remodeling, it will soon welcome its first residents. What a blessing!

As I stood looking at the dusty, worn shoes, a passage from Romans 10:15 came to mind:

“And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

I could imagine Pastor Dennis walking into his pulpit week after week to preach the Good News. I could also see him entering countless homes and hospital rooms where he carried the Gospel. What an inspiration!

And now a younger version of Pastor Dennis, son Kyle, has taken up the mantle of ministry. I can envision his taking thousands of steps each day in similar shoes as he enters the pulpit each Sunday at the Hickory Church of the Nazarene and then spends his week visiting the sick, sharing the gospel with the lost, and ministering to prisoners in six different prisons in the Hickory area. He, too, is a wonderful inspiration!

Both these men of God have beautiful feet shod in a special armor to protect them on their journeys:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. . . For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” (Ephesians 6:10, 15 NLT)

Jesus had much to say about feet. Perhaps his most powerful example of service came when he washed the feet of his disciples. (John 13)

Only a few hours later, He felt horrific pain as his own feet were nailed to a cross on our behalf! (John 19)

A handful of women and the apostle John wept as they knelt below those feet, and then on Resurrection Sunday that went to the tomb to find that He was no longer there. He had arisen! “The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him.” (Matthew 28:8-9 NLT)

Don’t you know that those women were ecstatic as they ran on happy feet to share the good news with the grief-stricken disciples!

What joy mixed with confusion they must have felt as they stood awe-struck and saw his feet disappear as he ascended into heaven. “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!’” (Acts 1:9-11 NLT)

Challenge: What about your feet? Your shoes? Where have they been lately? Have you washed any dirty feet lately, as Jesus did?

Thinking about the Pastors DeLong, I realize my acts of service pale by comparison. Thank God for people like these men who work tirelessly to share the gospel and minister to flocks of Christians. Thank God for their willingness to walk countless miles on behalf of their parishioners and the lost in the community. Thank God that this family wants to open their home to struggling women who need a hand up to get their lives on track. Thank God for their desire to give all for the Lord’s work and for his people. They are carrying out the Lord’s command just before his ascension: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

Please pray for this new ministry–Hope House. Pray for Pastors Dennis and Kyle DeLong and their family as they are going through difficult days and major end-of-life transitions. Pray for the women who will be moving in soon and for the volunteers who will help lead them. Pray for Pastor Mike Motley and Trading Ford Baptist Church who are stepping out on faith to minister to women in need of a second chance. Thank God for faithful shepherds who lead us, the flock, year in and year out. What a blessing!


I mentioned opening a men’s transition house, The King’s Haven, in my last post. Please pray for that ministry as well. We are still looking for just the right property. Thanks for your support.

One thought on “Feet

  1. God is Amazing in how HE provides so His work in and through us can be go on!!!

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