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

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”

A Preacher’s Kid Speaks

Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Rachael_M-Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_sabine-van-straaten-345853-unsplash_A_Preacher's_Kid_SpeaksWhat kind of challenges do you face raising preacher’s kids?

It’s hard to remember that they are kids and they are not as far along in their spiritual growth a I am. I need to take the time to train them in the Lord at home intentionally and prayerfully.           Rachel Schmoyer

Having people understand that salvation is personal and individual. And people don’t look at our kids as normal kids. So we have to navigate our children and encourage them on a different scale because they face different challenges than other kids. —Pastor Pablo Catala

Being criticized by others for your kids not being perfect, and having your own feelings of frustration for your kids not being perfect. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

The expectations put on my children to behave and act a certain way by people in the church was quite a burden to mehonestly one of the hardest things for me to face entering the ministry. Leaving a home church where my kids had family to love on them for who they were and not expect them to act like angels but allowed them to be kidsto a church where adults would yell at them or try to correct them, even if I was right there and had a situation under control, was a total shock. The church we took over pastoring had no small children for quite a while before we came, so they were not used to children being children. I learned to talk to women privately, and my husband to the men, and we explained that our children were our responsibility and that we were accountable to God for how we raised them. That they did not need that burden on themselves, and God will not hold them responsible for our children.

Over time this became much better and as new converts and their children began attending, the church learned to have more grace and realized our kids were actually quite well behaved. I also would like to say that people’s expectations do not mean a pastor or pastor’s wife, or any parent for that matter, need to change to please people’s expectations, but aim to please God. We will give an account to God, not men. Having a little grace toward all the children in the church and treating them the same regardless of their parent’s position would help pastor’s kids to not be resentful later on in life toward the ministry or people.                                                                                                —Anonymous, Missionaries to Kathmandu, Nepal

People expect perfection and have no idea the price that preacher’s kids paysharing their parents, their homes, their lives, with the people of the church. They feel they must follow in their parents footsteps and find it hard to be individuals. To be unique. To think independently. People expect them to be clones and to mimic the “party line!”  Ha! Oh I could tell you stories . . . —Janet Foley

A Preacher’s Kid Speaks~Pastor John Foley

What was it like being raised as the preacher’s kid, (PK)? What are some the pros and cons?

 

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John Foley as a child with his parents, Pastor Kevin & Janet Foley 

 

Pastor John Foley: I was into it. I liked knowing my dad/parents and our family were doing something important with our lives. I enjoyed getting to meet all the pastors and speakers. They were always pretty fascinating people.

 

The con may be that your dad doesn’t get to clock out and you can end up moving around a lot. Continue reading “A Preacher’s Kid Speaks”

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?”

From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_From_Dope-Dealer_to_Hope_DealerI recently had the privilege of being on an outreach team to help Pastor Pablo and Nicole Catala’s pioneer church in Bridgeport CT. I was struck by how laid down, how wide open and vulnerable their hearts and lives were for God and the people of their city. I watched them love people with the love of God. I watched the ease with which they outreached, their children alongside them—truly a team, like a machine in sync. I took note of their home. Everywhere I turned there were photographs of their family and decor that shouted in unison about God and family. I learned their story later and asked them to share it. Here it is.

The  Catala Story

IMG-4281Nicole Catala: One night my husband and I were fighting and basically done with our marriage. We both never had an example. We were only 6 months married and wanted to go for a divorce! That night my husband packed his clothes and left the house. The very next day I got a flyer from someone that there was going to be a healing crusade right across the street in Poe Park, put on by Victory Chapel in the Bronx, NY. As I was looking at the state of my life I knew I needed a miracle. I didn’t want my life to be just like the life of my family: Divorced, having multiple children from different men. I decided to go to the first night of the healing crusade. I was in a state of depression at only 18 years old and felt there was no hope for me and my eight month old son. Continue reading “From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer”