Messages from Missionaries

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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.

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_On_Your_Heart_Christ_has _not_called _us_to_comfort_or_convenience-but_to_the_crossAnonymous 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”

Why Are We Shouting? (Remembering MLK’s Message)

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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.

 

alexandra-marcu-1273561-unsplash.jpgRejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (NKJV)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)

bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

 

So, why are we shouting at each other?

But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 2 Timothy 2:16 (HCSB)

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; James 1:19 (NKJV)

I’m truly sorry for those who suffered and suffer at the hands of others. We must speak out and stand up against injustice for if we say nothing and do nothing when we are called to stand and speak we become part of the problem. We must take responsibility for our wrong actions and when we are treated unjustly we must remember that reasons aren’t excuses for wrong reactions. We must learn from the past, but live in the present and take steps toward a better future.

..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.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ―Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; 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?

marcelo-matarazzo-287570-unsplashLet 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.

But I think we need to focus less on racism specifically because it is a symptom, just like every other sin, of a sinful heart—and the only thing that will change that is a heart changed by Christ. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer in Threats to the Church and  Keys to Revival

We are meant to marvel at the majesty of the Creator in His creation.

There is a root that sustains

There is one Vine—

Jesus

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

And celebrate

The ongoing work of the The Master Artist.  

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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.) 

Click here to watch the rest of: Taking Down the Ropes of Segregation

Click here to read, Threats to the Church and Keys to Revival, featuring interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives to see what these great leaders have to say about these questions on racial tensions:

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.

Click here for excerpts from and links to: A Series of Interviews Featuring Pastors and Pastor’s Wives. The final article in the series, which features missionaries, will post in a few days.

Photo credit: Holding Hand by Renee Williams, featuring Simone & Mac

Photo Hands with Wedding bands by Marcelo Matarazzo on Unsplash

Photo Hands with Thread by alexandra marcu on Unsplash

© 2019  Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo It On Your Heart

Threats to the Church & Keys to Revival

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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.

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:  Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.

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.

Pastor Pablo Catala:  The biggest threats to the church today are dead religion and homosexuality. Why do I say this? Continue reading “Threats to the Church & Keys to Revival”

Fire Fighters, Fire Keepers, Heart Healers

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Fire_Fighters_Fire_Keepers_Heart_HealersIt is my honor to feature Pastor Chad and Mindy who currently pastor New Hope Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pastor Chad is the founder of Of the Word Ministries, a new ministry to pastors. Pastor Chad and Mindy have been married and pastoring for 22 years and they have eight children ranging in age from 6 to 21 years old. Five of their children are adopted privately from places such as the Ukraine and California. Two have Down Syndrome. Pastor Chad and Mindy have been homeschooling for 19 years. In addition, they have worked with 29 more children over the years in foster care. Oh, and did I mention that Mindy and their daughters Lizzie and Gracie are volunteer firefighters? Continue reading “Fire Fighters, Fire Keepers, Heart Healers”

Setting the Record Straight: A Day in the Life of a Pastor

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I have heard people say “The pastor has it so easy, he doesn’t have to go to work. What does he do all day? All he has to do is write a few sermons a week.” So, the following few questions are aimed at setting the record straight.  —What does a day in the life of a pastor, or a pastor’s wife, look like?

Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal:  Actually I had the same thought when I was a teenager, manual labor is hard work, being a pastor would be easier. I would liken that comment to a child saying, “I can’t wait til I grow up and can work a job and not go to school anymore.”

I’m sure each pastor and city will vary, but being a missionary has changed my daily tasks quite a bit. A daily task, that in America would be a simple errand, can take hours. This is hard to explain, but in short America is very efficient country. Continue reading “Setting the Record Straight: A Day in the Life of a Pastor”

The Preacher and the Writer

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Pastor Schmoyer, were you raised in a Christian home and why did you become a Pastor?

Pastor Tim Schmoyer:  Yes, I am very thankful that both my parents love Jesus and raised me to love Jesus, too. I’ve been a Christian for 33 years.

I was 17 when I took a trip with other teen Christians to Israel. We were in the desert at night when the youth leader asked us to surrender something to the Lord. So I thought, I could spend the rest of my life giving up this or that to the Lord. But I needed to give him everything. I didn’t know what that meant until the following week when my youth minister took me to visit a Bible college and while I was sitting in a class, the Lord reminded me of my promise to give everything to Him. Continue reading “The Preacher and the Writer”

And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves

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“Hi Pastor Obermeyer. Would you like to unwrap these statements of yours a bit, which you gave in answer to my questions?  Here, Preacher; the floor, or rather, the pulpit is yours! If you wish to take it—go!”

“Okay, rolling up my sleeves, lol.”

 

Rachael:   What most breaks your heart? What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today? 

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:   The condition of the church these days, which gets so caught up  with the world and then wonders why it isn’t being effective. Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.

Image-2What I mean is that I see many worldly philosophies and practices actively being taught in the church by ignorant and immature Christians. Spiritual immaturity is rampant, as is Biblical illiteracy. I hear more people offering their logic and opinions than actual Scripture verses. I hear Christians talk about “centering,” themselves, not realizing they are really talking about centering their “chi,” or life energy, which is a complete Eastern thought about how our life energy vibrates out of balance and needs to be re-centered.

Even yoga is designed for this, each position centering and balancing a different part of the chi; and yet we find “Christian yoga,” which is kind of a contradiction in terms, being led in some churches. I hear Christians talk about karma—good and bad karma and how karma is going to, “get that person.” This is horrible. Karma is not the same thing as the Biblical teaching of reaping what you sow despite its popular use even among Christians. Karma is a cosmic force, energy, or presence generated by the sum of a person’s actions, good and bad, which affects the nature of a person’s existence and determines their destiny or fate through transmigration into their next incarnation. That’s a mouthful, but it’s even more than that. It’s also one of the three margas, or paths to Brahman or salvation taught in Hinduism, being the path through works.

All of this comes from paganism and mythology and is completely contrary to Scripture, which teaches against reincarnation and salvation by works. It also puts our trust for justice and vengeance in something besides a merciful God and bypasses mercy altogether. Sadly, so many people today think they get into Heaven by doing enough good things to outweigh the bad, which is why many people struggle with the security of their own salvation in Christ.

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10 (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

Karma completely undermines the finished work of Christ on the cross and the hope we have in Him. It puts all the responsibility on us and our own abilities to save ourselves, which is an impossible task. And it isn’t enough just to say you don’t use the word, karma, that way but mean something else, like good or bad luck, (also pagan). The Bible is clear that it is what it is regardless of how you use it (c.f 1 Corinthians 10:19-21).  And if that isn’t clear enough, Paul specifically writes that we are to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The Bible is replete with passages, (Old and New Testament), telling God’s people not to be like the pagans and not to do what they do, especially in dance, worship, and lifestyle. We are to be different, set apart, holy. That’s something I think a lot of Christians overlook but really should investigate. Both Paul and Christ warn even further against causing others to stumble in their faith by one’s own misleading actions. 

People offer their thoughts and positive energy along with their prayers; again Eastern thought. And they confuse Eastern and New Age meditation, (emptying your mind and thoughts), with Biblical meditation, (filling your mind and thoughts with Scripture and Godly reflection). Christ warns that an empty “house” is vulnerable to being filled with demons, (Matthew 12:44-45). We think if we call it, “mindfulness,” then it’s not the same thing as Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age thought; whatever you want to call it, it isn’t Biblical.

I see churches and pastors getting distracted and becoming more concerned about looks and feels and making sure people are entertained rather than about teaching solid truth and deep faith. We sure get fired up about political and social issues, and we’ve got to look fly in front of people to keep up with the world, while the meat of God’s Word for daily living, spiritual growth, furthering of God’s Kingdom, and changing that world can just take a backseat—as if we don’t truly believe in it’s Power. I hear more motivational speaking than preaching, and those are not the same thing. Sadly, the church is sick and is presenting a shallow Gospel, and then we wonder why so many people, especially young people, question and abandon their faith. They’ve been given a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9) with no saving power. Their need isn’t satisfied. Their faith doesn’t take root because their faith hasn’t been placed in the true Solid Rock of Christ, but sinking sand.

Rachael:   If you could tell the Church anything, what would it be? What’s on your heart?

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:   So many have unteachable spirit attitudes. I want to remind people about holiness that seems to be so lacking today. Continue reading “And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves”