The onset of the year is a good time to acknowledge the challenges we face, the changes needed, and to look to Jesus through whom we are more than conquerors. The last two articles in my 2018 series of interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives—have bled over into 2019. So, please, grab your favorite hot cup of comfort, pull up a chair, and let us listen to the words of wisdom offered by these mighty ministers.
How do you feel about the spiritual and cultural climate where you are pastoring?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:I think there is a huge spiritual battle going on, and Christians are losing ground rapidly.
Pastor’s Wife, Janet Foley: I feel like the Gospel is often misunderstood and disrespected. I feel a bit intimidated here to share the gospel, more than other places. There is a lot of witchcraft, new age religion and political correctness here. A lot of ex-Christians, a lot of drugs too. Pot has been legal here for a few years so many people are hooked on it as well as methamphetamine. There’s also a lot of spouse-swapping, (married people who exchange for fun), which really freaks me out. Ugh.
Pastor Pablo Catala:I think it has been diluted and stained with perversion and sin unimaginable.
Pastor’s wife, Sophie Foley: It’s a breath of fresh air where we are pioneering. This is such a culturally diverse area, that most people have either not been exposed to Christ and so have no formed opinions and are open. Others have been raised with a respect for church so they are receptive and respectful of both the church and the role of the pastor.
What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?
Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal: Complacency.
Pastor Tim Schmoyer:Consumerism is the biggest threat. Seeing church involvement as one of the many choices in the buffet of life.
Janet Foley:Political correctness, compromise, complacency. Too much activity without true relationship with Jesus.
Sophie Foley:Emotional indulgence. People are so very fragile now, and when it comes time to speak a bit of caution or direction, the confrontation of it is no longer acceptable and they leave for churches that never confront.
Also, media. We are a generation so connected to our devices, and yet we are steeped with loneliness and depression, which causes us to withdraw and avoid dealing with the social interaction of church services. We have several people who want to come but are easily distracted, or too emotionally distraught, so they stay home and binge movies, and then feel terrible and it becomes a vicious cycle.
Today is a day of great opportunity. Sadly, many Christians do not seize the opportunity. Many lock their doors and turn off the lights, as if in hiding from the very people who need the gospel message who would come right to their door if the lights were left on. Many get caught up in the revelry of Halloween and blend in with the dark way the world celebrates it and seem to forget we are called to be light to a dark world. May I encourage you to seize the night? Every year I hand out candy to all who show up at my door along with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. I also believe it’s fine to use this opportunity to dress up as something wholesome and/ or portray a positive message in costume, (such as Christian themed, patriotic, heroes), while handing out Gospel tracts and church flyers. The right costume could start conversations to share the Gospel. What other night do multitudes of households in America willingly throw open their doors to the knock of a stranger or even for a neighbor?
Below are two free downloadable tracts for Halloween, one for small children and the other for older children and adults. I invite you print them to hand out with candy,or as you go door to door,or elsewhere in your travels tonight.
(Scroll past, A Special Announcement, for a bit on The Reformation and a bit more on Halloween and scary things and places.)
Please feel free to print and distribute my handout for Halloween also.Here is the PDF for it:Scarier tract
What if we seized every night and day as an opportunity to share the Gospel and encourage others?
A Special Announcement!
Happy Reformation Day and happy Pastor Appreciation Month to all pastors and their wives!
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14 (NKJV)
November is the month we celebrate thanksgiving here is the USA, a holiday commemorating the pilgrims who fled to America so they could freely preach and practice their Christian faith. Thanksgiving commemorates the day on which the Plymouth colonists invited their Wampanoag allies to a shared celebratory autumn feast in thanks for their first successful harvest and God’s provision. Today we also use it as a time to acknowledge all we are thankful for.
I am most thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ, and I am grateful for the men and women who answered and are faithful to their call to be pastors and pastor’s wives— those dedicated to harvesting of souls for the Gospel. So, I will be continuing my series of interviews with pastors and pastors wives throughout November. The articles are many and varied in content. Don’t miss their stories and their wise counsel. It’s okay to be thankful for pastors and wives in November too, right? How about if we showed our appreciation all year long? 🙂
Here are the links and some excerpts to the first three parts in my 2018 pastors and pastor’s wives interviews, followed by those for the prior two years.
I realized that following Jesus meant devoting my entire life beyond church attendance…I realized that God wanted all of me…During the message it was as if a lightning bolt sent a message saying, “This is what you are going to do for the rest of your life.” —Pastor Chad
I just wanted what my Pastor had, and ran with it… —Pastor Eric Quiles
Part 1 of 2018 Pastors & Pastors Wives Interviews: If My People
It seems like the church has become uninvolved. It has become inward focused—More focusing on efficiency of services as opposed to efficiency of outreach and any outreaching toward the lost..The church can’t be ashamed to preach the gospel because it’s the solution…
“I am an Anglo-Indian. My ancestry is a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized. I look Indian and I am most at ease in an Indian culture but I speak and think with the English language…
Highlights from Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives from Around The World 2016(You may need to pause the video to give yourself more time to read some of these slides)
What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?
It has cost me nothing yet everything. There is no price too great when serving the Lord. -Pastor Wayne Shaffer, New Life AG, Altoona PA
My will for the will of God. -Pastor Patrick Jordan, The Door CFM, Jamaica West Indies
What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today
People who like to wear the Christian badge, but that’s it. It’s part of their Facebook profile, but not part of their personal profile. They are not converted. -Pastor Chip Ganiear, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA
I felt like he could look right through me. I couldn’t stand him…. My pastor is not perfect; he’s just a man, as are all preachers. But he’s the man God provided to shepherd my soul…. I’m not speaking of blind following. Pastor worshipers don’t do well in their walk with God, because sooner or later they wake up and realize the god they created has failed them, or offended them and they derail as their reference was on the man and not the God the man represents. Likewise, those who are like a horse who shies from his groomer when his bridle is reached for, refusing to be led, don’t fare well… Continued at: I Call Him Pastor
What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?
Tolerance. Christians should be discriminating. They should exercise sound judgment; not no judgment. -Anonymous
What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?
Fat baby syndrome from so little exercise,
Lack of spiritual curiosity,
Gun shy evangelists. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA
If you could tell your church anything about yourself, your family, or anything else what would it be? What’s on your heart?
I love the LORD Jesus and He is my rock and salvation, that what you “feel” in your heart might not be what is real in God’s word, that truth conquers lies and light dispels darkness and there is no sin that cannot be overcome by grace. This I would tell them… and so much more. -Pastor Michael Duncan, Author, Speaker, Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA
Halloween and the Reformation and Free Downloadable Halloween Gospel Tracts
Did you know that the day known by many as Halloween is also Reformation Day? On October 31st 1517, a young Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther, posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, challenging several Roman Catholic practices and doctrines. This year, 2018, marks the 501st anniversary of this event that sparked the Protestant Reformation.
The movie, Luther by Torchlighters, tells His story and includes a documentary on Luther and the history of the Reformation. It was made for families and recommended for ages 8 and up.
Please feel free to print and distribute my handout for Halloween also. Here is the PDF for it:Scarier tract
Do you know what’s scarier than Halloween? What’s scarier than ghosts, goblins, witches, and horror movies? Scarier than your worst day ever. Do you know what’s scarier than the recent tragic headlines?
It’s spending eternity separated from the God who loves you so much. He put on human flesh, was born, and lived, and gave His life on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.
Salvation is there for the asking. If you’re ready, you can pray like this:
“Jesus, I believe you shed your blood, died on the cross, and rose from the dead for me. I repent of my sin. I ask you to forgive me and come into my heart. Help me to live for you in Jesus’ name, amen.”
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
If you prayed, it is important that you find a church home that preaches the full gospel, so you can grow in your faith and have the fellowship and support of other believers. This site may be able to help you find one: http://www.worldcfm.com/
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Psalms 19:1 (HCSB)
But ask the animals, and they will instruct you; ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you; let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10 (HCSB)
His ear is inclined to our cry. The Bible says God saves our tears in a bottle and one day He will wipe them all away for those who follow Him into eternity.
You call Him a fairy tale. But I know Him. He is more real to me than all the here and now you can touch and see. It is only logical that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the incomprehensible majesty, the lofty thoughts and mighty ways of our fathomless, infinite God.
He is higher than happiness; He transcends and brings purpose to pain. Jesus gives joy in the journey. He is my comfort, my sure and steady reference, my passion, my God. He is all encompassing goodness and grace. He is my hope, my help, my redeemer, my beloved.
You compared faith in God to a child believing in Santa Claus. Well, in the story of Santa Claus, He comes to bring gifts to the good children. But Truth is, Jesus comes and gifts Himself to us. He gives the gift of His presence to wayward children lost in the depravity of sin and senselessness. He finds us and lifts us from the poverty and destitution of our sin and bestows us with the riches of His grace. He cleanses us and clothes us in His righteousness.
I cannot make you believe.
The Bible says all creation praises The Lord and is a testament to Him
The true story of Lee Strobel, an avowed atheist, journalist, and an award winning legal editor with the Chicago Tribune. Lee embarks on a quest to disprove the claims of Christianity, but instead his investigation reveals unexpected discoveries which could radically change his world.
For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (HCSB)
More Apologetics Resources for Seekers, Followers, Writers—and Skeptics too 😉
Stand to Reason “Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.”
How to Participate: All Welcome whether you are familiar with the books and resources or not. I lead the chats Mondays and Saturday’s about once a month. Type #HealthyFaith in the search bar at top right, then chose “Latest” at top left corner to see conversations in the chat thread in chronological order. *Make sure to include #HealthyFaith in all your comments so participants can see them.
If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 4 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉
I’m not one to put people on pedestals. Even as a teenager I never had posters of celebrities on my walls. I guess fame in of itself does not impress me and I see people as just people—flesh and blood. I see the polls online asking if you could meet or spend time with any of the people they list, who would you choose. Their lists are comprised of several Bible characters, great classic Christian authors, or other historic heroic leaders who have since died. It’s always a tough, if not impossible choice. But my heart says the one I most want to meet is not on their lists and we are blessed that God has graced us with still having my choice among us—Rev. Billy Graham.
It is one of my dreams to meet Billy Graham, but I fear I would be wasting his time as the only thing I’d probably be able to say is thank you. But maybe that’s appropriate when you are in the presence of greatness like his. Perhaps it not so much a time to talk, but a time to listen if he graced me with some of his wisdom—content to sit with him for a moment and just be—just enjoy being in the company of Billy and Jesus. When someone is as close to Jesus as Billy is, you can be sure when you are in his presence you are in Jesus’ presence too, and Jesus said, “Where two or three or gathered in my name there I am in their midst.”
Journal entry, February 21st, 2018
The day I’ve feared for so long has come and the world is a little darker for it. I cried today. I cried for me, I cried for you. I cried for the world for our great loss. But I did not cry for Billy. On this sad but jubilant day I’m sorry for myself and the world, but rejoicing for Billy as he is welcomed home by his Savior whom he so faithfully loved, served, and proclaimed.
Billy Graham was raised on his parent’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Great Depression. He gave his life to Christ just shy of his sixteenth birthday. He preached on six continents in 84 countries. He prayed with and gave spiritual counsel to our presidents and leaders worldwide. Through his crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies he preached to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries and touched millions more lives via television, radio, film, internet, and through his books. Billy reached out to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the least in society and God granted him audience before rulers. He was humble so God raised him to honor.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV
Billy Graham was greatness wrapped in humility, which is what real greatness looks like. Like Jesus.
The same man known for his graciousness and humility is also known for his righteous passion. Like Jesus toppling the tables in the temple, Billy wasn’t afraid to fly in the face of cultural norms and injustices such as communism, apartheid, and segregation. He ripped down the ropes segregating blacks from whites thus hosting the first truly integrated revival meetings, and was friend and co-laborer with Martin Luther King jr. .
The deepest problems of the human race are spiritual in nature…The problem is the human heart, which God alone can change. —Billy Graham
Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Billy was a cup of comfort and a nod to can-do in a harsh and discouraging world.
A journalist once set out to investigate Billy, but found nothing to discredit him. The journalist’s conclusion about Billy Graham was, “He is a man without shadows.”
Nevertheless, judging by a few articles and social media posts I’ve read, some have formed opinions about Billy based on parts of stories about him rather than the whole, the beginning, rather than the conclusion of a matter. Billy wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes, but he admitted his shortcomings and made amends. He kept himself accountable.
Christian means Christ follower. Those who make Jesus their Lord and are governed by His Word, the Bible, will sometimes find themselves on the opposite side of issues than secular culture. God sets boundaries because He loves us and for our good. He is the definer of morality. But know this, though our beliefs differ from some, that does not mean we disdain or wish ill on those who chose to use their free will to live otherwise. It distresses me that some don’t understand it’s possible to disagree with people and still love them. Because we love people, we cannot support behavior we believe harmful to them. Because we love God we strive to be faithful to His Word and will for our lives. Christians are just sinners saved by the Savior’s grace, trying to share Jesus, the author of and answer to life.
Billy hated sin and how it destroys lives, but he loved people. Jesus hates sin, but He loves the sinner. He gave His life for us.
“If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this—God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.” —Billy Graham
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.”
Jesus said, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Billy was faithful.
He was the salute to my Sunday mornings when I was a little girl.
I was raised in Jamaica by my grandparents until I was nine years old. On Sunday mornings I’d run into their room, jump onto their bed and curl up at the foot of it. Grandpa would reach for the knob on the old wooden radio that sat atop his dresser and with a twist and a click, it burst to life with— “This is Billy Graham coming to you live…” and George Beverly Shea singing, How Great Thou Art, and we’d listen to Billy preach before we went to church.
I vowed growing up that I wouldn’t fall into the same pit some of my loved ones fell into. I didn’t want to repeat their mistakes, but as hard as I tried to climb that mountain it was like a landslide under me. At 20 years old my life was in shambles and as I stood weeping I heard the words recorded in the Bible that Job’s wife had spoken to him, “Curse God and die!” It wasn’t the first time suicide had knocked on my door. I fell to my knees. “No!” I said. “God I’m not going to curse You. I still believe in You. Help me.”
Later, I found a Billy Graham Decision Magazine in my mailbox and I remembered Billy’s preaching when I was a little girl and how it comforted me. The address label indicated the magazine owner lived on the other side of the complex. “Hello,” I said. “I have your Billy Graham magazine. But I’d like to read it for a minute before I give it to you, if you don’t mind.” He chuckled and we arranged a time to meet by the pool which separated our buildings, but I never showed up. I was so caught up reading, his knock startled me. I opened the door to meet the gentle smile of Rev. George Horton, a Baptist minister.
Billy was a stepping stone on my road to salvation. He was someone sure in a shaky world because he stood on the Rock, the foundation of all eternity.
I just wanted to say thank you for showing us what grace looks like, what faithfulness, righteousness and humility looks like.
Billy Graham was a light in the dark, a night light of sorts. A steady reference, a clarion call in the midst of an unsteady world of shifting sands. He was faithful to God and faithful to his call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now he has received his reward. The dawn of a new morning has broken on Heaven’s horizon for Billy Graham.
Our life is a vapor—shorter for some than others. I have a question for you. When you step out of this world and into eternity will you find yourself at Heaven’s or Hell’s gates? Is there eternal life or eternal night waiting on the other side for you? The choice is yours. God longs for you.
They say you should use scripture sparingly when you write. But the Word of God is alive and powerful and able to accomplish way more than any words I could ever write.
“I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with authority, quoting the very Word of God—He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart.” —Billy Graham
All your goodness won’t get you to Heaven. Jesus said our our righteousness is as filthy rags.
“You ask, ‘What is repentance?’ Repentance means that you say to God, ‘I am a sinner, I’m sorry for my sins, I’m willing to turn from my sins. But Lord, You have to help me to turn. I’ve tried so many times to give up things I know that are wrong, and I just can’t do it.’
Then, by faith, receive Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Open your heart and say, “Yes, lord Jesus, Come in. I’m ready to follow you.'” —Billy Graham
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In your name. Amen.” — BillyGraham.org/Commitment
If you are committing your life to Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association would like to know, and so would I. You may send me an email via the Contact by Email box or leave a reply in the Comment box at the end of this post.
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” -Billy Graham
Yes, Billy. This world is not my home. It’s just the road to where I’m going. Heaven is my home, and Jesus is my prize.
An Invitation from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE
An Invitation from The Billy graham Evangelistic Association:
“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE.
I believe Christians ought to be able to consider another’s view, amicably agree to disagree on some things, and still appreciate each other.
I don’t believe in just tossing relationships because of disagreements, nor only having discussions with those we agree with. There is a give and take in relationship and it should be especially so in the Church.
Sometimes we will be right, and sometimes wrong.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.Ephesians 2:2-4 NLT
Some things we won’t know for sure until we get to Heaven. What’s crucial and clear is that we adhere to the Bible’s instructions which dictate the road to salvation and share those with the lost and dying world.
Some issues are worthy of debate, and some aren’t. But even when they are, scripture admonishes us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.
All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.1 Corinthians 10:23 (NASB)
If we do speak, let this govern us:
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Regardless, we don’t need to take it as a personal assault or be offended because others have a different view. Neither should we be offensive.
But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 2 Timothy 2:16 (HCSB)
“Do you just want to be right, or do you want to be effective?” -Pastor Artie Aragon
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
Someone’s passionate adherence to their belief is not necessarily a persecution of another’s. If our heart is to pursue truth and persuade others of it, then we ought not be offended with others’ attempt to proclaim their position, but rather, be patient and open to learn from and teach each other as the situation dictates. We can choose to use opposition as an opportunity to strengthen our beliefs by further study.
Reading is crucial to personal growth and gaining understanding of others and the world. We can’t effectively engage others and present truth if we don’t know where they are. What they believe is the starting point to reach them.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Do not be hasty to close the door on relationships because of differences and lose the chance to influence others with truth.
My desire is to glorify God, to share the Gospel with the lost and encourage other believers.
“Lord help me to be faithful to Your call, to present Truth with grace and love. Help us to be quick to forgive each other when we fall short. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
The real issue isn’t which translation of the Bible Christians choose to read. The problem is people aren’t reading the Bible more—or at all.
May our discourse push us to study, to seek truth, strengthen our faith and pursue Jesus’ heart.
“Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ.” – Billy Sunday
The preaching of the gospel and salvation of souls is the primary focus and call of the Gospel. It is biblical that all else done in the name of the Church, as representatives of Jesus, should be done with this ultimate purpose in mind.
The Great Commission:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
Many organizations start out with this focus, but lose it as they get overwhelmed by attempting to meet the the endless physical needs of the people they are serving with their humanitarian work. This is something to be mindful of, so as to stay balanced and faithful to Jesus’ mandate.
The Bible Says:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?Mark 8:36 (NKJV)
But the Gospel is not a buffet. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like in the Bible and ignore the rest. It’s all or nothing; we must ingest the whole thing.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”James 1:27 (NKJV)
“..and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”James 2:16 (NKJV)
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:34-44
Pray, Send, Plant, Establish, Support, Nurture:
Neither our home church, nor Adventures in Missions are organizations with a “drop a bag of rice and run” mentality. But rather, both believe and are are invested in planting, helping establish, supporting, and nurturing ministries that are dedicated to planting themselves in the nations among the people they are serving. We must seek to serve both the spiritual and physical needs where we are called, with a hand up, not just a hand out.
We each have different callings and how we fulfill them will play out differently for each of us. It is Biblical to serve first in our home churches and communities, but there are different seasons in which some are called to go; some to stay and send. But even those who stay and send get to go, as the sender is linked by their investment of prayer, finances, and encouragement to every impact the missionary makes for Jesus in the lives of other people.
In July my 18 year old daughter, Abigail, leaves on a month long mission trip for Nepal with Adventures in Missions. In spite of turning 18 and wanting a car, she has chosen to forego a month of pay from her summer job to go and work unpaid serving the Nepali people. I love her heart and her boldness. Abby’s team will need prayer support for their endeavor. As of today, Abigail also still needs to raise another $1,861 for her mission trip.
“Why do you want to go on a mission trip so badly?”
“Why do you care?”
I never understand their whys. As a Christian we are commanded to care for people and share God’s love with as many as possible. If I work hard enough I know I can raise enough money to go on a mission trip. Even those out of town outreaches on Saturdays- I don’t have anything to do a lot of Saturdays, so, of course I’m going to go. “Why not?” I find myself saying so often. The opportunity is there, and it makes no sense not to take it.
No, I don’t think I’m too young. There is no such thing as too young to serve in the best way possible and do God’s will for your life.
“Do these things when you’re old enough to appreciate it,” they say.
I know I’m capable of appreciating it now. God has put an overwhelming love in my heart for people now, so why not put it to use now? If I waited until I was older, what would I do now? I’m not waiting until I’m older because I’m capable of making a difference now.
I’m not doing this to have a good experience, or to better myself, but to better other people. Until I have ministered God’s word to people who can give me nothing in return, I have not lived.
“God, please use me now. My life is yours; do as you please with it.”
People ask me, “How can you send your children away?”
“Why do allow your children to go to these far away and dangerous places?”
“Aren’t you afraid? Won’t you miss them?”
Here’s my answer. Yes. But I would Rather give my children to the cause of Christ than have the world steal them away.
There is really nowhere safe in the world anymore. Our older daughter Anna went on a three month mission trip to Kenya in 2013. Her team of thirteen girls was sent to serve in one of the most unattractive and unsafe towns in the country. The terrorist attack took place while they were there- but it took place in one of the nicest and seemingly safest areas.
When Abby went to visit and help out family who are missionaries in Lithuania, we didn’t book her on the lesser known airline which had a day layover in an unstable country. She did reach her destination unharmed. But a few weeks later, it was that same reputable airline that she had traveled on, Lufthansa, that was intentionally crashed by the copilot into the alps, thus killing all on board. My heart breaks for the people impacted by these tragedies.
So, where is safe? The only safe place is in Christ. We really just have to be ready. Safe is in the hands and will of Jesus. Safe is a right heart with God.
Which heart should I feed? She is young. She was only 16 when she went to Swaziland and will just have turned 18 when she leaves for Nepal. I am her mom, and I see the pull of the world and our culture. I also see that little bit of edginess and that youthful lust for a little risk, a little adventure. I see her heart for people and for God, that thirst to know God more and to do something that matters. It needs expression somewhere. So let that expression be found in the cause of Christ.
I challenged her and asked her in 2015, “Why Swaziland? Why not somewhere closer, cheaper, and safer?”
Her response was, “It seems to be the area of greatest need. And I don’t want to go somewhere easy.”
She could spend the month of July lining her pockets with silver from a summer job and shopping at the mall with friends, or relaxing on the beach… And that would be okay. But instead, in 2015 she chose to go and serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a hand up to a destitute, disease stricken people in the tiny African nation of Swaziland. How could I say no to that?
This Summer, in July 2017, her desire is to go on another month long mission trip. This time it is to Nepal.
I know there are plenty of people that need the Gospel preached to them and their needs met, right here on the home front- and Abby does outreach locally. But who am I to tell Abby, or anyone else, where God is telling them to “Go ye,” if God has laid somewhere on their heart? I held her back for a year the first time.
Here’s to the little girl with the little bit of an edge to her. The little girl with the gumption to reach for a dream and follow her heart for Jesus. I love you Abby.
So, if God speaks to your heart and leads you, go ahead and hit: DONATE
I tried to quell the yearning for a greater something, a purpose bigger than the here and now and myself.
…we remain conscious of a desire which no natural desire will satisfy. -C. S Lewis, The Weight of Glory
I chased all manner of both good and evil earthly pursuits, but nothing fulfilled. Not even religion. It was all vain distraction.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:11 (NKJV)
But then, He found me.
I met mercy and forgiveness on the road to grace.
Mercy withheld judgment.
Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19 (NLT)
Forgiveness wiped away my transgression.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)
Grace translated me from servant to friend, from slave to daughter, abandoned to adored.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15 (KJV)
Do you want this? God created you for Himself, for Heaven. That is why everything else misses the mark, just as we do.
Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, often referred to as Palm Sunday, is an accurate reflection of mankind. Not just the back then mankind, but the right now mankind. It’s like an indictment to you and me how easily our hearts are turned away from the right road, the Savior. It’s frightening how a heart can go from crown Him to crucify Him in three days.
How often I miss the splendor of God’s glory passing by, what He is doing and calling me to, because it isn’t wrapped in the earthly trappings I expect or want. Of the people who did recognize Jesus as Messiah and greeted Him with palms and called Him King of Kings, I wonder how many had the revelation that the road led to the cross? Death before resurrection. I wonder how many walked away from Jesus then, and even now, because they didn’t look past the cost and up to see the crown, the glory, that follows obedient sacrifice and service.
Hey heart… Do you turn aside when the road goes uphill, or against your will to the place of self death and sacrifice? Do you hold out when you are called to be poured out and lift others up to Christ?
I fall short, but Jesus is the difference maker. Yes, my Creator is my crutch. I like to lean on Him. He is my healer, redeemer, restorer. He is the Way maker. He wants to be yours too. Not just for a day, but for every day, in the day to day. He cares about the details.
Come as you are and let Jesus make you into what you were made to be.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23 (NKJV)
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Matthew 10:27 (NIV)
Here is a highway. This is my rooftop. Hello, world! Can you hear me? Do you know my Jesus?
Because He is risen
I have hope
I know Him
I can come boldly before His throne
This world is not my home
It’s just the road to where I’m going
And I do not walk alone
I do not fear death
Because He is risen
I have been translated
From dead in my sin
To alive in Christ
To set free and daughter of the King
From bound for Hell
To Heaven is my home
He is risen indeed
But Jesus isn’t just my fire escape; He is my passion, my reward.
The proper rewards are not so much tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation. -C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Consummation- the act of consummating; completion. The circle is a symbol of never-ending continuity, eternity. The rainbow around God’s throne in Heaven is a circle. Heaven is coming full circle into the eternal destiny and reward we were made for, the fulfillment of the vow, the promise Christ made to His Church, His bride.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NKJV)
I am a riverbed whose banks cannot contain the rushing water. He rains on me, He reigns in me. I overflow. He compels me.
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)
The Perfect Vacation
TICKETS ARE FREE- but they will cost you your life. You may pick them up at the Altar of Repentance.
DRESS CODE- Come as you are; clean white robes will be provided. You will be changed in the twinkling of an eye!
DIRECTIONS- Way beyond the blue, through the pearly gates, up the streets of gold, to a place prepared for you- a mansion built by The Cornerstone. Enter into the secret place of the Most High where you will bathe in the Light of the Bright and Morning Star. Be not anxious and rest in peace, sweet peace, as you lean on the Everlasting Arms.