At six years old I was a red-headed, freckled-faced little girl and an orphan once again. I believed I was unlovable. With the death of my foster mom, I was taken from my beloved family who could no longer take care of me.
Once upon a time, there was a family of very meager means. It was Christmas time, and there wasn’t a spare dollar to be had, and for the first time there would not be a Christmas tree, no presents, no stockings hung by the chimney with care. It would just be them, and their bruised idea of a gentle Savior.
It 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”
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.
PART 3 of 3: Family First or Church First? An interview with dragon slayer, disciple maker, Pastor Brian Williams and his wife Ruth from Agape Missions International, Nepal.
Question 20: How do you have the energy and balance your time between studying, preaching, writing, caring for your family, and other ministries?
Family First or Church first?
Is the God we serve only a community God?
Is the God we serve only a personal family king?
Is the God we serve only a serious father?
Here below is some type of weird ideology based on the world’s value system:
Now, where do we find that in the Bible? Nowhere, can we find any of this in scripture. That unbiblical and soulish concept is propagated by intellectually challenged, worldly people in the church.
Here is another piece of theology that betrays biblical orthodoxy:
Family ministry or Church ministry? But not both as a priority?
Now, where in the Bible do we find such an either/or dichotomy so as to prioritize one over the other? This comes from an unbiblical worldview of splitting values when none is required. This is opposed to the Judeo-christian way of doing things.
Thus seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, is:
Church Family Ministry,
Family IN Ministry and
Family AS Ministry.
Here is what I believe is the pure Bible worldview on family and the kingdom of God. This truth encompasses all three of the concepts below in perfect unity without surrendering any of the three ideas.
Participating in local Church Family events IS ministry.
Families involved in spiritual exercises IS ministry.
Fun family activities in a family IS also ministry.
To speak about Biblical balance in another way, let us look at these three sentences:
Our church is our family and our family is our church.
We are to minister IN our immediate-family/joint-family which IS our ministry too.
Our nuclear family is called to a BE type of ministry, as well as serving God in a DO type of ministry also.
Let us dig a little deeper without excluding any of the three threads mentioned above.
Church Family Ministry
Many families reluctantly drag their kids and their spouses to a local fellowship. It’s a sad thing when a family enjoys every other program in their locality other than a church program. Many research studies show that those who have a committed church community as their primary social network live longer. Do we go to a local church and give our time, talent and treasure to that church community together as a family? Or do we just warm the carpet and do a bench warming activity there? Paul mentioned this priority beautifully in Hebrews 10:25 “Not FORSAKING the ASSEMBLING of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
2. Family “IN” Ministry
Most families wait until their children reach college for them to serve God. Then, it’s sometimes too late because they are already fixed and anchored in their ways. They have received no training at home. If we do not fellowship, evangelize, pray and enjoy the Bible together as a family, why will they do it when they grow up? The Jews were wisely commanded by God to tell their kids stories of what God did. Why? The word of God was supposed to be on their doors. Why? I think it was so they would read it, remember it and enact it every time they went out into society and came back home. They had Sabbath meals with great Bible symbolism so that they could experience Emmanuel in all the areas of their family life. The family that prays and does spiritual stuff together stays together.
Joel 1:3 TELL your children about it, Let your children TELL their children, And their children ANOTHER GENERATION.
3. Family “AS” Ministry
So many people show their families by their lifestyle that they serve a boring God. If our God and our Parents do nothing but pray, read the Bible, go to church and evangelize, then we have shown our God as a fun killer at worst and a dull God at best. Do we dance with our kids? Do we play football with our kids? Do we go cycling with our kids? Do we watch movies with our kids? Do we go on picnics with our kids? Do we read books with our kids? If we have no recreational activities with our kids then we serve and portray our God as a spoilsport, a very grumpy old man who has is no fun and joy. On the other hand, fun was created by God but perverted by the Devil. We must take back what the devil has stolen.The family is itself a ministry and we must enjoy it without having to do stuff that is Christianese only. We are definitely not called to participate in sinful activities but there are other things we could do like, going to, zoo’s, picnics, parties and sports events.
That is why 1 Cor 10:31 counsel’s us in this way “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do all to the glory of God.“
Some concluding thoughts:
The family that prays together stays together.
The family that plays together stays together too.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
Discerning Family Seasons:
So in conclusion, we must strike a healthy balance between investing our time for church community moments and a time for our personal and private family seasons. We must apply wisdom when we are to do which and for how long. Sometimes “family ministry” is the priority, other times the “church family ministry” is the priority, and still at other times, “family fun ministry” is the priority. Only the Holy Spirit can help us put the kingdom first by creating that balance in the prayer closet for each of the days of our week.
On average how much time does it take you to put together a sermon, including research and study?
Depends on Question number 20.
How much time do you spend in personal Bible study and prayer a day?
Depends on Question number 20.
What is the hardest part of being a pastor/ pastor’s wife?
Balancing Question number 20.
What is your biggest challenge in your ministry?
Implementing Question number 20.
What most breaks your heart?
People neglecting the values of Question number 20.
What has being a preacher and your ministry cost you?
Do you ever want to quit?
What keeps you going?
Our quiet time.
What most encourages you?
The ongoing testimony of God lovers.
Who inspires you?
Those who incarnate the Bible in their localities.
What has been the most unexpected benefit of your ministries?
Serving at risk people has brought out the best in me, my wife and five kids.
Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, direction, encouragement, prayer—someone you can be really open with?
My wife has an Indian lady and I have an American and Nepali guy whom we are accountable to.
How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?
Serve them in His power and strength.
What are some things your church and others could do to lighten your load or refresh you and your family so you can better serve God and them?
People living out the gifts that they have been given.This lightens our burden and revives us.
What do you see as the biggest threat to the Church today?
Atheistic believers, worldly Christians and religious denominational-ism.
What do you believe is the key to revival?
Praying and evangelizing.
How do you feel about Jesus’ return, the rapture?
I am to serve Him till He returns. I am a PAN–Millennialist—Everything will pan out when He comes back.
How are mission trip teams like the one my daughter, Abigail, came on with Adventures in Missions this past summer helpful to you and your ministry?
The greatest ministry your daughter and her team left behind was probably not Bible studies, hand-outs and eloquent speeches, (they are great too). But it was mainly by empowering the local leaders in Tami Nepal and our networks.
They did this by birthing and serving long term relationships, by an act of deep interpersonal koinonia in the hearts of the local long term workers. We are hoping for not only short term success for the short space of time they were here but the long term successes by them investing generously their time, talent, treasure, (money and things etc), and touch, (prayer), in me, my family, my team and my partners. This model of “one-another” ministry was lovely to see in practice. Working together with the Holy Spirit and each other is key to our mutual success. This is only possible when short-term people/teams leave a legacy behind with us, their co-workers. Nothing is worse than an individual or team coming here and doing fast and furious ministry all by themselves while the local ministers are just tag-alongs.
The African Proverb is so true:
If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.
Abigail and her team were lovely in being our friends and continue to be close to us by e-mail and Facebook. We pray and hope some of them come back again to be with us.
What is your favorite memory of your ministry?
From Street Kid to Pastor
by Kayla Strickler
Sachin was the name behind the face of a child beggar on the sweltering side streets of Nepal. Street kids are extremely common in this country; they often spend their days begging, sometimes at the urging of their very own families. Street kids typically lie, fabricate tear-jerking stories, or play dumb to coax more money out of unsuspecting travelers. Sachin was a kid that needed no such ploys; he had an obvious physical challenge in one leg. Even so, he traded the street life for a job in the carpet industry when the enticing opportunity arose. And just like that, he became a statistic and joined the ranks as one of thousands of Nepal’s child laborers.
In Nepal, child labor for the carpet industry is rampant. Despite many efforts to bust the business over the last several years, the fight to end child labor is still far from over. World-famous carpets come from Nepal—the smaller the knot and the finer the carpet, the better and more valuable. Consequently, tiny agile hands often work 16-hour days and stitch until their fingers bleed raw.
As Sachin grew into adolescence, working hard hours in this industry, he encountered someone who introduced him to a life of faith in Christ. As a new believer, he began attending a church that was willing and able to put a roof over his head; but this supposed miracle was short-lived. The life of that roof expired when the church abruptly changed their policy and chose to no longer support street kids. As quickly as the roof had been put over his head, it was taken away. Sachin found himself blindsided. He was physically limited, uneducated, and now completely homeless.
In his destitute and dejected state, an Agape affiliate got word about the boy with the sick leg and bleeding, carpet-making fingers. Before long, Sachin came under Agape’s wing to be developed as a leader through an internship, with a roof over his head, and no longer needing to work slave hours six days a week. The boy that was once on the streets now had a roof, food, a family, and above all, a chance in life.
Around the same time Sachin was beginning his journey with Agape, another miracle was being worked out in someone else’s life who would also soon join forces with the mission.
Agrata, a bright and steadfast young woman, joined Agape to grow and help fulfill her calling as a leader. As one of only two Christians in her otherwise Hindu family, she needed a place to live as her current living situation fell through. Staying where she was meant stress and ill health because of the tense environment; going back home to a Hindu family would mean re-crucifying the Jesus so important to her, (since returning to a Hindu family would mean renouncing her Christian faith). Caught between a rock and a hard place, she found a third option and made her home for the season in Agape, where she could live and grow with a community of believers.
Agrata and Sachin’s love grew fast and strong. Two years into their internship with Agape, their romance was a beautiful avalanche rushing down a hill, gaining their faith and maturity before they got married, but to the besotted couple, the avalanche was already gathering great speed. Brian’s wish was that they spend another six months in a development program growing really unstoppable. They quickly tied the knot and set out on their own, blissfully in love and choosing to branch out on their own.
A local church they had been attending helped the couple secure a place to live and work: two rooms, one for a meat business to support themselves, and one room to live in. Soon, they started a family. Life continued in this security for a comfortable length of time. When they were pregnant with their second child, they happened again upon Agape’s staff. When they did, Agrata and Sachin came bearing news of all the great things happening in their lives: pastorship, children, business… Except, one thing was noticeably amiss—Sachin and Agrata had grown weary of working in the meat business, and their hearts yearned to focus more on ministry. They rejoined Agape, reunited in the place they first met—this time with two little ones in tow. But, in the blink of an eye, they chose to return to their church and meat business. Then, the unthinkable happened. The infamous earthquake hit with ferocious strength, and left their home, business, stability, and life all rubble in its grip. Sachin, Agrata, and their two kids were officially homeless.
They came to Agape for help. In Brian’s own words, “Sometimes a couple needs help two or three times, to establish themselves…” And so, with great love, Sachin and Agrata found themselves back at their roots. In another beautiful partnership with Agape ministries, Sachin and Agrata were blessed even more than before. The couple remained with Agape until they were on their feet again after the earthquake. In due time, they had a well and a house built with a room for church, two bedrooms, and a washroom. They now serve faithfully in Nepal, running their own church, bringing more and more people to the knowledge and saving faith of Jesus, the one who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than anyone could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
What is your vision for your ministry, your calling?
Small is Beautiful!
It’s not terribly important how big a work we have, but rather how big a work God does and is doing through us.
Tami Asia Calling:
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
James 1:27PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED before God and the Father is this, To visit the FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS in their affliction, and to KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.
Psalms 68:5 A FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS, and A JUDGE OF WIDOWS is God in his holy habitation.
Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even A CUP OF COLD WATER to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly NOT LOSE THEIR REWARD.”
Psalms 113:6-9 KJVWho HUMBLES himself to BEHOLD the things that are in heaven, and IN THE EARTH! He RAISES UP the POOR out of the DUST, and LIFTS the NEEDY out of the DUNGHILL; That he may SET HIM with PRINCES, even with the PRINCES of HIS PEOPLE. He makes the BARREN WOMAN to keep house, and to be a joyful MOTHER of CHILDREN. Praise ye the Lord.
***You can read my post featuring my daughter, Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here: Echoes
****Please respect the request of the interviewees that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post on other platforms.