Missionaries upend and sometimes risk their lives to serve the Gospel in restricted nations. They are often bold in the face of opposition, while many people in America display passivity in the face of peace, and take for granted our freedoms rather than being grateful for them. American Christianity is uncomfortable with inconvenience. I pray these messages from missionaries who left the comforts and security of their homeland to proclaim the message of Jesus’ love, deliverance, and salvation, will stir your heart.
Anonymous Former Missionary to China: Sharing the Gospel wherever you are is all about leaving the comfortable whether it’s leaving our home or going beyond ourselves. Compassion and caring for people can awaken anyone to go beyond intimidation and our own limitations. We were missionaries in China for four years—that was our commitment. We had a house church, although a lot of our missionary friends had their church in a building.Continue reading “Messages from Missionaries”
It is my pleasure to share Pearl Allard’s guest post with you today.
I had just settled on the couch, grateful to have crossed the day’s finish line with two kids intact and in bed. I eagerly reached for a book I’d been longing to read, when my six-year-old padded out of her room—one bare foot and one slipper-socked foot. I bristled, wondering with the psalmist, how long, O Lord?
Dear daughter held up the partner slipper sock in one hand and a gray pom-pom in the other. The slipperhad (past tense) a pair of dangly gray pom-poms attached at the top which I was preparing to mentally curse. She wanted me to fix it.
Yeah sure, kid. No problem. I’m on it. And by the way, you’re supposed to be in bed!I choked back the destructive spew and accepted the extended slipper sock and offending gray pom-pom. I examined them (come on, you know that deserved a gold star right there), but I informed her it wasn’t getting fixed that night, if it was even fixable. She looked crestfallen.
I peered at the small mass of gray fibers coming loose in my hand. I’d wait until she was in bed and then throw away this whole fraying mess.
“Do you think you can fix it?” Her little voice held such angst.
It was a gray pom-pom for crying out loud, not a broken limb, or a break-up with a boyfriend, or a life-or-death matter, not even a blip on the radar of important…to me.
I looked up into her earnest expression watching me. Hoping. Trusting.
I sighed. When she’s grown, will she remember me shoving aside what she valued? Or will she remember me caring about even the outlandish details of her life? I sighed, again.
“Couldn’t you sew it back on?” I sensed her trying to lighten the workload, offering the most helpful suggestion she knew.
It was just a mess on my lap, and it was all kinds of unimportant and…it mattered. I sighed for the third time.
“Yes, I can probably sew it on,” I admitted. That seemed to satisfy her since she smiled and, with both feet now in one slipper sock, hopped her way back to bed. Crazy girl. This mothering thing…yeah.
I set the book aside, hauled my rear off the couch, and rummaged through craft supplies, shaking my head. Was I actually comparing shades of gray thread?
Back on the couch, I stitched the fraying mess – and realized I was actually stitching up something far more significant. Isthis what real love does?Stitches things, people, back together? Reconnects the disconnected? Takes the time to do crazy for the sake of demonstrating love? I marveled at the way the eye of a needle opened my eyes.
I paused and looked up. Hanging over our fireplace were three crosses – just small hot-glued branches – beneath small heart lights I’d strung around the mantel. The cross, a symbol of the most crazy love ever. And small hearts connected together because of it. Radiating light. In that moment I tasted a richer flavor of God’s love for me. Why does He love me? Me with a wandering heart and reluctance to share what’s been lavished on me. Crazy-amazing love.
How fitting so near Valentine’s Day.
I tied off the knot and surveyed the repair. It didn’t seem nearly so costly a sacrifice anymore. Those few interrupted minutes a disguised opportunity to participate in something much larger than irritating gray pom-poms. Any investment of love, no matter how small, is really part of something big; because God IS love. I’m slow to see, slow to look up. But thank God, I didn’t completely botch this. (Lord knows how many other times I have!)
May this Valentine’s Day bring a fresh awareness of how much God loves you with a crazy-amazing love. Romans 5 is an amazing chapter to reflect on, if you get the chance today. But the verse below from John is a good summary.
Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. John 3:16 ERV
Pearl and I met two years ago as members of The Jerry JenkinsWriters Guild and joined the same writing group, currently comprised of nine women from around the world with a passion for Jesus and to honor Him with our writing. Pearl is a precious sister in the Lord, a down to earth, gifted and anointed writer and speaker, a prayer warrior with a heart to glorify God and encourage others. She has written for (in)courage, Keys for Kids, and Breathe Christian Writers Conference.
Pearl is an imperfect Son-follower learning to enjoy grace. Sunflowers are her spiritual metaphor, because they track the sun’s movement as Christians seek to follow God’s son, Jesus. She is happily-mostly-aftered, work-at-home mama to two, and lives in Michigan. She writes at LookUpSometimes.com.
Progress is slow as I recover from an inflamed nerve which makes it difficult to work on a computer. Eleven of twelve articles are posted for my current series of interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives. I will post the final article in the series, (which features missionaries), as soon as I am able. This link will also bring you to my interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives from prior years.
I was waiting for perfect, but it never showed up. So I decided I’d better start the journey without it. I thought I needed to be the perfect Christian, wife, mom, have the perfect family, and coin the perfect phrases. Then I’d have something to say. Then God could use my writing. I mean, who am I?
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. ―Martin Luther King Jr.
The King of all creation, Jesus, shouldered our sin and calls us to bear one another’s burdens.
..in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, speech
“the time is always right to do the right thing”―Martin Luther King Jr.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love oneanother; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 (NKJV)
We are not our skin; it’s just the stuff we live in. Strawberry, lemon, chocolate, vanilla—let us savor the flavor in each other’s cultures.
Some believe themselves superior while exhibiting inferior behavior toward others. With large mouths, shriveled hearts and tiny mindsets they eke out finite lives in their effort to undermine noble ones. Others say they want equal rights but demand special privileges.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”―Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What if instead of looking out for ourselves we looked out for each other?
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
The Bible says:
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, Acts 17:26 (NKJV)
The Great Seal of the United States of America says we are. “E Pluribus unum, out of many, one.” Our pledge of allegiance states, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” and our national motto says, “In God We Trust.” But when we seek our own and trust in man, as some do, we end up divided. See, the Gospel has the answers—it is the answer for all that ails us.
We are meant to marvel at the majesty of the Creator in His creation.
There is a root that sustains
There is one Vine—
How marvelously He colors our lives with vibrant brushstrokes of many hues—
Facets of Himself reflected in our differences
Let us recognize our common ground
The ongoing work of the The Master Artist.
Portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Colby
Link here to read: One Blood, A Civil Rights Story, as told to me by Jean Colby, my mother-in-law and Sara Clay, my sister-in-law about their experiences as Civil Rights activists, about the March Against Fear, MLK, and James Meredith. (Scroll down in my post, See, Stand, Speak.)
What are your thoughts on the current racial tensions in America? What do you feel has fueled them and what do you think we as a nation and the Church can do to quell this and bridge the racial divide?
…The tensions are high and so political. The whole thing upsets me. People’s lives should never ever be political playing cards, and yet they are. They always are. I believe that what we did during the time of slavery was horrifying and we should not be dismissive of those whom it is still impacting today. I believe…
…My wife is Chicana from west Texas, and I, (though Texan as well), am actually a fifth generation Cherokee that left the… Click here to Continue.
Some words get thrown around like confetti in January— “Happy New Year! What’s your New Year’s resolution?”
But what about when it’s not happy? What about when you don’t know which way is up, and what if you can’t see any resolution for issues in your life, much less make a resolution? While some began the new year with fireworks and hope, others look out on the future through the fog of uncertainty. What then? Continue reading “Now (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)”
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.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to juggle writing, family, and church, without dropping the ball before Christmas got added to the list. My first impulse is to run and hide from this whole messy madness called Christmas in America. Right now, I’m busy procrastinating to avoid it all…