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”

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”

Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?

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What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?

This comes at the expense of a broken heart. —Pastor Pablo Catala

Physical and emotional stress; personal time and freedom; often any sense of security because things change so much in your life; and struggles with self-worth as you are constantly being evaluated, of which you mostly only hear about your shortcomings. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

As a missionary it has cost convenience, comfort, seeing family… but the promised reward of souls far outweigh the costs. —Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal

What is the hardest part of pastoring?                            

Seeing what people need to do and watching them not do it, no matter how I present it or how I word it, no matter how much time I spent with them and then having to hear the lament of,“Pastor, you were right,” which does not comfort me as I’m seeing the carnage of their bad  decisions. —Anonymous Pastor

Expecting to be loved, understood, maybe even appreciated? They have no idea how needy we are. —Anonymous Pastor’s Wife

Sometimes your own children reject everything you’ve lived for and still you must keep going.  —Anonymous

Realizing how much you don’t know, and feeling like you never do enough, aren’t good enough, or that you might misspeak something heretical. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

What is your biggest challenge and most unexpected hardship in pastoring?

I guess my passion for the church gets me in trouble.  —Janet Foley

Making sure that in the midst of building God’s church I don’t lose my marriage or children to the devil’s lies. Stretching time and making sure none of the 3 most important elements of your life are not cheated: God/ family/ work. —Pastor Pablo Catala Continue reading “Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?”