Now (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)

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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)”

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”

What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

BGEAinK.C.04-56Journal entry, January 16th, 2018

I’m not one to put people on pedestals. Even as a teenager I never had posters of celebrities on my walls. I guess fame in of itself does not impress me and I see people as just people—flesh and blood. I see the polls online asking if you could meet or spend time with any of the people they list, who would you choose. Their  lists are comprised of several Bible characters, great classic Christian authors, or other historic heroic leaders who have since died. It’s always a tough, if not impossible choice. But my heart says the one I most want to meet is not on their lists and we are blessed that God has graced us with still having my choice among us—Rev. Billy Graham.

It is one of my dreams to meet Billy Graham, but I fear I would be wasting his time as the only thing I’d probably be able to say is thank you. But maybe that’s appropriate when you are in the presence of greatness like his. Perhaps it not so much a time to talk, but a time to listen if he graced me with some of his wisdom—content to sit with him for a moment and just be—just enjoy being in the company of Billy and Jesus. When someone is as close to Jesus as Billy is, you can be sure when you are in his presence you are in Jesus’ presence too, and Jesus said, “Where two or three or gathered in my name there I am in their midst.” 

                   Journal entry, February 21st, 2018

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The day I’ve feared for so long has come and the world is a little darker for it. I cried today. I cried for me, I cried for you. I cried for the world for our great loss. But I did not cry for Billy. On this sad but jubilant day I’m sorry for myself and the world, but rejoicing for Billy as he is welcomed home by his Savior whom he so faithfully loved, served, and proclaimed.

Billy Graham was raised on his parent’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Great Depression. He gave his life to Christ just shy of his sixteenth birthday. He preached on six continents in 84 countries. He prayed withBilly_2 and gave spiritual counsel to our presidents and leaders worldwide. Through his crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies he preached to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries and touched millions more lives via television, radio, film, internet, and through his books. Billy reached out to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the least in society and God granted him audience before rulers. He was humble so God raised him to honor.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV

VIDEO: Billy Graham: One Man. One Purpose. One Message. A photo tribute journey through the life of Billy Graham.

This is the inscription on Billy Graham’s grave marker:

Billy Graham November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018

 Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ

John 14:16

That’s it—for the man who was the greatest evangelist in history.

Billy and his beloved wife, Ruth, were both buried in caskets made by inmates of the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana. That man is determined to continue preaching to us, even from his grave.

VIDEO: Making Billy Graham’s Casket

Billy Graham was greatness wrapped in humility, which is what real greatness looks like. Like Jesus.

The same man known for his graciousness and humility is also known for his righteous passion. Like Jesus toppling the tables in the temple, Billy wasn’t afraid to fly in the face of cultural norms and injustices such as communism, apartheid, and segregation. He ripped down the ropes segregating blacks from whites thus hosting the first truly integrated revival meetings, and was friend and co-laborer with Martin Luther King jr. .

The deepest problems of the human race are spiritual in nature…The problem is the human heart, which God alone can change. —Billy Graham

Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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

Billy was a cup of comfort and a nod to can-do in a harsh and discouraging world.

A journalist once set out to investigate Billy, but found nothing to discredit him. The journalist’s conclusion about Billy Graham was, “He is a man without shadows.”

Nevertheless, judging by a few articles and social media posts I’ve read, some have formed opinions about Billy based on parts of stories about him rather than the whole, the beginning, rather than the conclusion of a matter. Billy wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes, but he admitted his shortcomings and made amends. He kept himself accountable.

Christian means Christ follower. Those who make Jesus their Lord and are governed by His Word, the Bible, will sometimes find themselves on the opposite side of issues than secular culture. God sets boundaries because He loves us and for our good. He is the definer of morality. But know this, though our beliefs differ from some, that does not mean we disdain or wish ill on those who chose to use their free will to live otherwise. It distresses me that some don’t understand it’s possible to disagree with people and still love them. Because we love people, we cannot support behavior we believe harmful to them. Because we love God we strive to be faithful to His Word and will for our lives. Christians are just sinners saved by the Savior’s grace, trying to share Jesus, the author of and answer to life. 

Billy hated sin and how it destroys lives, but he loved people. Jesus hates sin, but He loves the sinner. He gave His life for us. 

“If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this—God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.” —Billy Graham

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.”

Jesus said, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

Billy was faithful.

He was the salute to my Sunday mornings when I was a little girl.

I was raised in Jamaica by my grandparents until I was nine years old. On Sunday mornings I’d run into their room, jump onto their bed and curl up at the foot of it. Grandpa would reach for the knob on the old wooden radio that sat atop his dresser and with a twist and a click, it burst to life with— “This is Billy Graham coming to you live…” and George Beverly Shea singing, How Great Thou Art, and we’d listen to Billy preach before we went to church.

George Beverly Shea, How Great Thou Art, 1969

I vowed  growing up that I wouldn’t fall into the same pit some of my loved ones fell into. I didn’t want to repeat their mistakes, but as hard as I tried to climb that mountain it was like a landslide under me. At 20 years old my life was in shambles and as I stood weeping I heard the words recorded in the Bible that Job’s wife had spoken to him, “Curse God and die!” It wasn’t the first time suicide had knocked on my door. I fell to my knees. “No!” I said. “God I’m not going to curse You. I still believe in You. Help me.”

Later, I found a Billy Graham Decision Magazine in my mailbox and I remembered Billy’s preaching when I was a little girl and how it comforted me. The address label indicated the magazine owner lived on the other side of the complex. “Hello,” I said. “I have your Billy Graham magazine. But I’d like to read it for a minute before I give it to you, if you don’t mind.”  He chuckled and we arranged a time to meet by the pool which separated our buildings, but I never showed up. I was so caught up reading, his knock startled me. I opened the door to meet the gentle smile of Rev. George Horton, a Baptist minister.

Billy was a stepping stone on my road to salvation. He was someone sure in a shaky world because he stood on the Rock, the foundation of all eternity.

I just wanted to say thank you for showing us what grace looks like, what faithfulness, righteousness and humility looks like.

IMG_2408Billy Graham was a light in the dark, a night light of sorts. A steady reference, a clarion call in the midst of an unsteady world of shifting sands. He was faithful to God and faithful to his call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now he has received his reward. The dawn of a new morning has broken on Heaven’s horizon for Billy Graham.

Our life is a vapor—shorter for some than others. I have a question for you. When you step out of this world and into eternity will you find yourself at Heaven’s or Hell’s gates? Is there eternal life or eternal night waiting on the other side for you? The choice is yours. God longs for you. 

They say you should use scripture sparingly when you write. But the Word of God is alive and powerful and able to accomplish way more than any words I could ever write. 

“I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with authority, quoting the very Word of God—He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart.” —Billy Graham

All your goodness won’t get you to Heaven. Jesus said our our righteousness is as filthy rags.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Short is short. We all miss the mark.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. John 8:34 (NKJV)

But no matter your sin, it’s not enough to keep God from loving you. He wants to give you a new life, destiny, peace and joy.

IMG_2409For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 (NKJV)

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeedJohn 8:36 (NKJV)

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)

Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (NKJV)

“You ask, ‘What is repentance?’ Repentance means that you say to God, ‘I am a sinner, I’m sorry for my sins, I’m willing to turn from my sins. But Lord, You have to help me to turn. I’ve tried so many times to give up things I know that are wrong, and I just can’t do it.’

Then, by faith, receive Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Open your heart and say, “Yes, lord Jesus, Come in. I’m ready to follow you.'” —Billy Graham

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)

VIDEO: 1957 Billy Graham How to live the Christian Life 

A Prayer of Commitment

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In your name. Amen.”  — BillyGraham.org/Commitment

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Click here if you need a church home.

If you are committing your life to Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association would like to know, and so would I. You may send me an email via the Contact by Email box or leave a reply in the Comment box at the end of this post.

You may contact the Billy Graham Evangelical Association here:              1-877-2GRAHAM/ 1-877-247-2426                                                        BillyGraham.org/Commitment

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“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” -Billy Graham

Yes, Billy. This world is not my home. It’s just the road to where I’m going. Heaven is my home, and Jesus is my prize.

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. Psalms 116:15 (NKJV)

Well done, thou good and faithful servant. 

I’ll see you on the other side, Billy.

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

An Invitation from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE

More Videos and Links to Resources

Billy Graham’s, Steps to Peace With God

Blog post by author Jerry Jenkins who helped Billy write his autobiography, Just as I am Precious Memories: Billy Graham 1918-2018

Remembering Billy Graham Special- The Tami Jackson Show with Jerry Jenkins

Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham

Billy Graham A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist, Terry Whalin

Books by Billy Graham

In His Own Words: Billy Graham Talks About Heaven

Touching Moments from Billy Graham’s Funeral Service


Billy Graham: A Life Remembered – Billy Graham TV Special

Billy Graham’s 99th Birthday: Notable Reflections

A Tribute to Billy Graham, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Billy Graham Audio Archives: Over 1,600 Sermons spanning over 60 years of ministry

https://billygraham.org/tv-and-radio/radio/audio-archives/

Billy Graham Educational Resources (Lesson plans for elementary school through high school.)

Notable Reflections

https://memorial.billygraham.org/notable-reflections/

The chain reaction of influence and conversions of men who became preachers and leading to Billy Graham’s conversion (Toward end of post.)

Christianity Today magazine, founded by Billy Graham: April 2018 issue, Billy Graham 1981-2018

Decision magazine (Founded by Billy Graham)

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association https://billygraham.org/

An Invitation from The Billy graham Evangelistic Association: 

“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE.

Easter Offerings

Rachael_M_Colby_tatto_it_on_your_heart_face-the_Son_North_Light_StudioToday marks the day of the ultimate love story, the day when Jesus, God incarnate, bore our sin, shame and the penalty for our sin and gave His life on the cross so we could gain forgiveness and eternal life, so we could know Him and have hope. For this reason, we call it Good Friday.

I am reminded that at what seemed to be the darkest day, at the greatest human injustice, is when God was most in control. —Dr. Sean McDowell 

Dear Reader,

Please forgive me for being absent from my blog for so long.  My miserable excuse is I’m undergoing treatment for an impinged nerve and two numb fingers. That makes for painfully slow typing and a somewhat distracted foggy mind. (No, it’s not carpal tunnel and the cause is not typing.) Prayers appreciated.

I am almost finished with my Billy Graham Post, and hope to have it up this weekend. But until then, here are some suggestions for your Easter weekend and beyond as well as excerpts and links to my posts from last Easter.

May you know the depths and heights of Jesus’ love for you and delight in Him and the great plan He has for your life.

Rachael

Christ Revealed documentary film series featuring 25 world renowned experts

Click here to register to watch #1 Christian Documentary of 2017/2018, Christ Revealed, offered free for a limited time. This series reveals astonishing facts about the validity of Christ and the resurrection

New Movie! The third in the God’s Not Dead Series

Today, Good Friday March 30th, 2018  PureFix releases their new movie, God’s Not Dead: A light in Darkness, in theaters across the USA.

Return to the Holy Land
This Easter: Watch & Share This Graham Family Devotional
Join Franklin Graham and his family in this video as they explore the rich history of Israel, and study the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the land of the Bible.

Below are excerpts from and links to my posts from last Easter

Reflections

I tried to quell the yearning for a greater something, a purpose bigger than the here and now and myself.

I chased all manner of both good and evil earthly pursuits, but nothing fulfilled. Not even religion. It was all vain distraction.

But then, He found me.

I met mercy and forgiveness on the road to grace…

How often I miss the splendor of God’s glory passing by, what He is doing and calling me to, because it isn’t wrapped in the earthly trappings I expect or want. Of the people who did recognize Jesus as Messiah and greeted Him with palms and called Him King of Kings, I wonder how many had the revelation that the road led to the cross? Death before resurrection…

Hey heart, do you turn aside when the road goes uphill, or against your will to the place of self death and sacrifice?  Do you hold out when you are called to be poured out and lift others up to Christ?

Because He is risen I have…

Click here to continue to Reflections

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Am I Enough?

“Am I enough?” He said.

“Yes, Lord. Of course, You are enough.”

“Then stop making excuses. Whatever you lack, whatever your need, I Am enough. Come to me.”

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You don’t have to be a victim of your failures, shortcomings, or circumstances. Every obstacle, every failure, every defect, every unmet need is a chance for Jesus to move on your behalf, to prove Himself in your life, and bring Him glory. Your defeat is Jesus’ opportunity to bring victory if you give yourself to Him. He is the God of the turn around, the God of a new beginning…. Click here to continue to, Am I Enough? 

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Copyright 2017, 2018   Rachael M Colby    Tattoo It On Your Heart

Gift

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_OnYour_Heart_GiftIn all your giving and getting don’t forget The Gift. Sometimes it feels like I’m just running ahead to the next thing without ever being really present in the present, and the urgent and the flashy, crowds out the important that’s right in front of me.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. They sought shelter but there was no room in the inn. Jesus wants to shelter in your heart. Is there room within?

Are you too busy to be blessed this Christmas? You can be lonely or lost  in a crowd. Maybe that something you’re looking for is Someone—the Someone called Jesus and the gift of Himself,  His comfort, His peace.

The name “Jesus” means salvation. There is power in His name.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

He is also called: Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Emmanuel, The Word, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Alpha and Omega, Author and Finisher of our faith, the Resurrection and the Life… His names state His purpose, His plan, and who He is. Savior is the name that redeems us.

I think my favorite name of Jesus is the one that meets me where I am at the time.

Emmanuel means God with us, because Jesus is God incarnate—God in the flesh. He is with us when we become born again. He said he would never leave us or forsake us.

Link to: Noel, by Todd Smith of Selah

God donned human flesh and subjected himself to the human experience. He was born to die so we could live. He endured temptation without sin and defeated sin and death to offer us salvation.

The incarnation proves God’s love for us is such that He walked among us to win us to Himself.

Holy left Heaven and inhabited humanity.

He was willing to go to the extreme to redeem.

It is impossible to save ourselves. If it were possible, Christ wouldn’t have needed to die for us. The only payment for the penalty of sin is a sinless sacrifice. We all fall short. Only Jesus is sinless and therefore able to save. His mercies are new every morning when we stumble.

He is the Way and the way maker.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

You see, when God steps in, the impossible becomes possible. Jesus in us overcomes sin and births new life— new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit who conceived Christ and raised Him from the dead, resides in us—that same power. Amazing.

Most kings stay in their comfortable palaces and have little to do with the lowly. Kings are usually served, not servants. Jesus, the King of kings, traded his crown for the cross. He stepped out of Heaven and into humanity to serve and offer salvation to all—from mighty rulers to the humblest of citizens

Link to: Chris Tomlin – Noel (Live) ft. Lauren Daigle

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9  

God chooses the humble for He is Humble. Those who have little, and are not distracted by the fool’s gold of affluence and self-sufficiency are often more aware of their need and open to God.

He gives grace to the humble.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty I Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)

God goes where others hesitate or refuse to go.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and The Lamb of God. His birth was first announced to shepherds

Link to: A Charlie Brown Christmas – True Meaning

I wonder if Mary and Joseph heard the angel’s proclamation to the shepherds?

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart (2)

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” John‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬ ‬‬

Jesus is the Light of the World who shines in darkness and brings hope for humanity.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)

“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” John‬ ‭10:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

‬‬Do you know Him?

Holy became lowly, humility donned humanity and gave Himself to us. What a gift— God, the gift giver, became the Gift and gave Himself.

““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John‬ ‭10:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I have no gift to bring, Pa-rup-a-pum-pum. Do you know, the only things we can actually give Jesus are bad and broken things? We can give Him our anger, our hurt, our bitterness, our broken  hearts, broken promises, broken lives and dreams, our sin.

Any good things, any abilities I have to offer are gifts from God. The only good in me, is Jesus working in and through me.

All I am really offering when I do anything of value, is giving back to God what is already His which He graced me with.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalms 51:17 (NLT)

I want you God. And You want me. Miracle.

Here I am, Lord; send me. Here’s my heart, Lord; use me.

Give me words to praise You. Words to lead others into Your presence.

Help me to minister to others as You will me to, Lord, and trust You to meet my needs.

I will cast my cares at the foot of the cross, in the hands of my Creator. You can too.

Link to: TobyMac – O Come, All Ye Faithful (Audio)

Oh great glory and grace

Light dispels darkness

When a sinner meets the Savior

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Jesus loves you and He wants you too.

I want to know you more, God. All I want for Christmas and every day, is more of  you, Jesus.

Will you give yourself to Him and to others so they can know Him?

Go there, He says. Go to them and bring Me to them. Be My hands and feet and show them My heart, Jesus says.

Do you want the Gift of Him?

God will make much out of little when we give ourselves to Him and His work. He gets the glory that way. 

Jesus is the Gift. Go Tell it on the Mountain. Link to: Go Tell It On The Mountain, performed by Victory Chapel, Chicopee MA

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and new year from our house to yours.

Tattoo_it-on_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Jesus-God's_Gift_To_you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017  Rachael M Colby            Tattoo It On Your Heart

Part 3: Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker_Part_ThreePART 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:

  • God first.
  • Family second.
  • Ministry third.

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.

  1. Participating in local Church Family events IS ministry.
  2. Families involved in spiritual exercises IS ministry.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.

But

The family that plays together stays together too.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

But

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. FullSizeRender (7)-002

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? FullSizeRender (1)-003

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? FullSizeRender (3)-002

Persecution.

Do you ever want to quit?

NEVER.

What keeps you going? FullSizeRender (4)-002

Our quiet time. 

What most encourages you?

The ongoing testimony of God lovers.

FullSizeRender (5)-002Who 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, FullSizeRender (6)-002encouragement, 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 PANMillennialistEverything 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.

Galatians 6:5 For every man shall BEAR HIS OWN BURDEN.

CAR CUP Nepal/ TARA School Nepal/ WARM Nepal

(Who is God? What is true/ real Religion?)

Click for Video: Meet Ruth

https://youtu.be/-I80BIz7yIE

James 1:27 PURE 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 KJV Who 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.

The Prodigal Son,  Luke 10:25-37

Click for Video: Meet Our Team.

Bethesda Bishram Nepal

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his OWN WORKS, as God did from his.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ,who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the living God?

Click for Video: Meet Brian

https://youtu.be/EMLPWThJyCU

Bethel Ashrm Nepal 

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same COMMIT THOU TO FAITHFUL MEN, who shall be able to TEACH OTHERS ALSO.

Blessings FullSizeRender (8)-002          

Cheers

Prayers

Because…

Together we do a great work for God

Rev. Brian Reshma Williams

*Click here to read PART 1. 

**Click here to read PART 2.  

***You can read my post featuring my daughter, Abby’s stories of her mission trip to Nepal here:  Echoes 

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Us****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.

Thank you for your consideration.                                                                                                  © 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

 

Echoes (Nepal Mission Trip Report)

 

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Abby. Girl with a heart as big as the open sky. She once said, “I think when we pray, God often says, “‘That’s all you’re asking for?’” She asked, she reached, and God allowed her to go on another mission trip. This time, to Nepal.

 “Abby, I know you’re busy with college and work, but it’s important that you write a post about your mission trip. Your stories will inspire others, and I don’t want you to forget.”

She glanced up and said, “You write it, Mom.”

So, here are Abby’s and her teammate Jacob’s stories as told to me.

IMG_20170713_164730839_HDR

Echoes

JACOB: I had never been on an airplane before our mission trip to Nepal. The vivid chaos of Kathmandu greeted us as we made our way to our home for the next few weeks.

IMG_20170722_182343519Motorcycles, buses, cars, vans and bicycles, drove in and out and all over as if there were no lanes, no laws. They just did whatever they wanted. The buildings stood about four stories high and eight feet apart. They were everywhere— it seemed as though they went on forever, or at least as far as the eye could see.

ABBY: The guys stayed on one floor and the girls on another in our apartment style city dwelling. Water and electricity outages occurred frequently and without warning. We sat on mats to eat, and talk, and sing. We slept on wooden pallet bunk beds.

JACOB: Always. Car horns and barking dogs at all hours of the day and night.

IMG_20170712_083355403

The Quiet Cafe

ABBY: All the waiters were really quiet in the cafe we went to on the first day. We thought it was because they didn’t speak English, but later learned that they were deaf and our main waiter was studying American Sign Language. My teammate Kendra and I speak ASL, but I hadn’t expected an opportunity to use it in Nepal and was so excited we were able to communicate with him and share the Gospel on the days we visited the cafe. He introduced us to his many deaf friends, his wife and children, and took us to many beautiful and interesting places he thought Americans should see.

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House Full of Rescued Kids and Former Prostitutes

ABBY: Our ministry host Brian and his wife, Ruth, have three natural born children, two fostered, and many more live with them, some orphans from the earthquake in 2015. Their house is full of women and children who were at risk, some rescued from human trafficking. The women are the most welcoming people I ever met.

It is amazing how Brian, his wife and the women raise their children. They are some of the most God loving people I know. The children are the best behaved, most selfless kids and they pray more passionately than anyone I’ve ever heard.

The Women’s Center

IMG_20170712_205305184ABBY: Brian and Ruth’s ministry encompasses more than those living with them though. They have a women’s center, a home for at risk women and children and those taken out of prostitution. There they are taught English and various skills such as making jewelry so they can earn money for themselves and their children.

We spent the mornings at the women’s center, painting and renovating the building IMG_20170727_151807678and grounds to better suit their needs, and helping with the women’s children as they worked on their new skills. In the afternoons we went to Brian’s house and talked to the women who lived there and tutored the children in English.

The first week we had the option to go on a prayer walk around a cabin bar where the prostitutes worked and possibly go in and talk to them, or to stay and tutor the children. I had already spent a lot of time with the children. Tutoring for the afternoon was not appealing while my other teammates ministered in ways that seemed much moreIMG_20170713_022207151 intense and more like what I came to Nepal to do. But when they asked for volunteers to stay, there was barely anybody, so I raised my hand and as half of my team went out, I stayed behind.

The children led us along a road filled with flowers. We played games and they sang songs in Nepali, picking flowers for us every step of the way as we walked back to the house for  lessons. …Oh. This is where I was supposed to be, I realized

While teaching the three-year-olds English at Brian and Ruth’s house, I got the chance to talk to one of the women who lived there. She said she loved having visitors like our team. She held a newborn baby and talked as if we are best friends. She told me her husband left her when their baby was three weeks old. He moved to Saudi Arabia and never came back. She said she had no bitterness in her heart though, and was thankful to God to be with her baby and live with Brian and Ruth. This painful abandonment was recent, but still, she kept saying. “Praise God.”

For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. Isaiah 54:5 (NKJV)

ABBY: “We walked everywhere in Kathmandu— 45 minutes to Brian’s house, Sometimes 35 to the cafes, and 40 minutes to church. We never know the schedule, Mom. Literally, never.”

One morning, a group of little children from our ministry host’s home walked 45 minutes to our lodging. They chattered and jumped, faces aglow, as they led the way. “Come! We want to show you our church!”

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As we entered the tiny church building, the Nepali women rose and sat in the aisles, insisting we take their seats. After song service, they called our team on stage and someone placed a  guitar in my hand. We looked at each other, perplexed.

“What songs do you know on guitar?” my teammates asked.

“None,” I said. “I can only play if I have the music notes, and I have none.”

So, my teammate, Jen, started playing the keyboard, calling out notes to me as she did. I know we sounded awful, but they still cheered at the end and asked one of us to testify of what Jesus had done in our lives.

Afterward, the little girls ushered us into another room. “You’re leading Children’s church today!” they said. We weren’t expecting to lead, so we had nothing prepared. After a lot of convincing, one of the older children agreed to translate for us. We sang songs, and after the preaching, we played games and taught them the creation story. Our translator knew limited english, so, as they told us their favorite Bible stories, we acted them out, teaching what they could learn from each one.

We found out afterward that the wall between the children’s church and the sanctuary is paper thin and the congregation could hear every word we said.

Listening Prayer and the Armor of God

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:14-16

ABBY: We stood together in a circle, whether in a room or on a street, and named each piece of the armor of God and pretended to put it on ourselves and prayed every time before leaving for any ministry.

We asked God to show us people who we needed to talk to about Him and my friend Kendra had a vision of a little girl in a red dress.

Mountain MinistryIMG_20170716_100036927_HDR

ABBY: He jumped aboard the bus, yelling as he did, and wearing so many layers of clothes. Who IMG_20170717_110502576is this dude, we wondered. As our bus wound its way up the narrow, dusty mountain road jostling us from our seats, he bounced around, randomly hollering, “Fire!” Bipin is a pastor and he is the happiest person I’ve ever met. Everyone on the team ended up loving him.

The villagers glanced up from their work as we sped by. Each of us carried a few of Brian’s books on church planting to hand out at the pastor’s conference where he was preaching. Brian is a writer, a preacher, and disciple maker. He has sent workers into Denmark, India, and Nepal to pioneer churches. He preaches so much like my pastor, Paul Campo.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7 (NLT)

IMG_20170717_110149108_HDRIt was hotter in the mountains than in the city; hot in the day and hotter at night. The night rain beat loudly on the tin roof, some making its way inside. We lay on the ground to sleep, sticky and pouring with sweat. There was no electricity; no water. We took buckets to the waterfall for our showers.

IMG_20170718_080408972_HDR    Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Brian’s wife went into labor unexpectedly, so we left  the mountains earlier than planned, making it in time for the birth of their baby girl.

The Monsoon rains burst from the sky, sending water coursing through the muddy streets and filling potholes.

ABBY: One Saturday morning, the day of worship in Nepal, we attended Bipin’s church. There stood the little girl in the red dress who Kendra had seen in her vision. She was speaking sign language to her mother. She lit up with a broad smile when we started signing to her.

Bipin was always singing and he made us sing along everywhere we walked. We jumped puddles and little rivers meandering across our path, the aftermath of the rain. I wondered why Bipin had chosen this long and tiring route to his home for lunch that day.

Suddenly, a woman called out to us from the upstairs window of a house. She had fallen asleep and awakened to find that the group she traveled with had forgotten her and locked her inside when they left for the airport that IMG_20170717_120213322morning. She had been praying for someone to come by and rescue her. We retrieved the key from under a flower pot in front of the house, unlocked the door, and she hurriedly left to catch her flight, thanking us and praising God as she did.

We walked past a freaky butchered goat, its head cut off, a machete beside it. They eat goats and chickens there.

Sometimes we choose restaurants based on the rating we gave their bathroom— if they had one. The food is so spicy it makes my nose run and burns my stomach, but I love the momos.

The Rat Race

ABBY: The warm night air clung to us as we trudged up the giant hill on our way home. The bushes by the side of the road rustled and I bent over expecting to find an injured bird, but four rats lept out.

“It’s not a bird, it’s not a bird!” I cried, as we  ran screaming into the busy street and cars and buses brushed my ankles.

We named our animals— like the cockroaches and the pigeons who knocked on the windows.

It’s a Whole Other World Up There On the Rooftop.

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ABBY: I finished washing my clothes and pitched the water over the edge of the roof.

“Hey! There’s a drain up there for that!” my teammate said as water splashed through the window below.

Oops. I didn’t  know.

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Almost every house has a flat rooftop. I went on ours every morning to read my Bible and pray. People walked to and fro on the streets below, winding between the rows of buildings. Nepali women swept every floor of their houses precisely clean, as if they IMG_20170717_094155721needed to get every single speck of dirt out before they could start their day.

The rooftops of the neighboring houses stretched straight across for miles. Laundry draped from lines strung on poles, colorful prayer flags hung from rooftop to rooftop. People washed their hair, bathed and did their laundry on their rooftops. The three-times-a-day-tooth-brusher vigorously performed his ritual.

The lower mountain ranges of the Himalayas loomed in the distance. On days when the clouds parted revealing the taller snow capped peaks, we ran down into the house to tell everyone so they could come up to the rooftop to see. Many of my team went up there at night to listen to worship songs, sing and pray.IMG_20170712_201914231

JACOB: Christian, the only other guy on our team, and I stood on the rooftop praying over the house, for the girls, and the mission trip. We still felt uneasy when we finished, so we stayed up to worship. While Christian let out cries of worship from the front edge, I felt called to the back corner of the roof. I didn’t know what for specifically, but I could feel something dark, something that didn’t belong there.

 “God,” I said, “thank you so much for this place of worship. This place of fellowship and community. Lord you have put something on my heart, you have made something very obvious. Christian and I feel we aren’t alone on this roof right now. I just want to declare your name. Jesus Christ is Lord. I ask that you cast out anything that is here with us and is not of you, for it has no dominion in your house, in this house.”

Suddenly, a tall, dark, muscular, evil, being was coming toward me. It had depth; it was there— in a spiritual sense, but also in a physical sense. It ran at Christian and I, pushing clothes Jacob funout of its way and ducking under the clothesline to get to us. The demon got right in my face, then  disappeared and reappeared on the rooftop of the home next to ours.

Christian and I looked at each other; our hair stood on end. “Did you see it?”

“No; but I felt it!” Christian said.

ABBY: We left the windows open, even when it rained. But still, the thick warm air hung heavy over us. The neighbor’s conversations, crying babies and barking dogs punctuated the night, keeping some of my teammates awake, but I fell asleep.

The Cabin Bar

ABBY: The next time we got the opportunity to stay or go, I went out with the other girls to a prayer walk by a cabin bar where the prostitutes work. It was the most intensely I’ve ever prayed in my life. We walked and prayed for about an hour before going inside.

Men came to the cabin bars to order a drink and a girl. Several rooms for this purpose encircled the dining area.

No one in the cabin bar spoke English, so while we waited for one of the women to come to our table, we prayed out loud. But we were careful not to say the names, God or Jesus, as our ministry leader had warned us not to, so the owners wouldn’t know our intentions.

Such darkness in the room, spiritually and physically.

Tear stained tender cheeks.

When cabin bar workers walked over to our table, the Nepali woman who works in the anti-human trafficking ministry translated for us. We told them we were tourists.

We ordered drinks and talked for awhile.

Her husband had left her. She had been there  about a week. She hated it. She wanted to leave.

That’s where I met Surita and her sweet baby.

We asked her questions about her life and what she wanted to do, her hopes and dreams. She had none.

If a woman seemed interested in escaping, we would ask her if she wanted to talk to us again. We hoped, if she trusted us enough, we could meet elsewhere and tell her about the women’s center, offer her a new life and introduce her to Jesus.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Motorcycles zipped by, a family of four on one, including a newborn. We dodged cows. Three wheeled busses careened across streets with unmarked lanes.IMG_20170712_083041376

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Slum Ministry & Discipleship

IMG_20170712_083515805ABBY: Some of the disciples from Brian’s discipleship training school, choose to minister in the slums to at risk children as their service before being sent out to start their own ministry. These young men are only 18-21 years old, but carry great responsibility.

So, our last week in Nepal, we went to one slum in the morning and another in the afternoon.

The children were down by the river playing  with rocks and sticks as trash floated by. One of the girls yelled something in Nepali and they all came running after us as we walked up the street. We played soccer with them first so hopefully they would sit still for us afterward.

The children sat on the hole studded floor of  the small, dark, cement building watching intently as we told Bible stories. On one of our last days, an older man from the slums wandered into the room and joined us playing a game called Indian Chief. Every time he lost, we made him do a dance in the middle of  our circle, just like the rest of us had to. It was one of my best days in the slums. He danced like one of the young Nepali women performing for the king.

FullSizeRender (1)We sang songs, and the children yelled them back to us in a language they didn’t fully understand and did the motions for them energetically. Their clothes never fit, they rarely had shoes and they smelled so horrible that when they came close you wanted to cover your face. But with their big beautiful smiles and them reaching out wanting to hug you— you couldn’t help but hold and love them, no matter what.

JACOB: ​Nepal is a country of deeply spiritual, hospitable, sweet, and loving people. This trip taught me to find a place in my heart to store compassion. It taught me that no matter what my circumstances are, there is always safe haven in the Lord. This was the first time I experienced the Holy Spirit overseas. It was the best month of my life. Jacob and little boy

I got closer to the team of seventeen people I served with than I ever could have imagined. They are some of my favorite people and will always be a part of my life. Every day I pray for Nepal, the people we impacted there, and for my team.

Absolutely the hardest thing about this trip was seeing our team members get sick, taken off the mission field and admitted to the hospital in the third and fourth weeks of the trip.

The most rewarding, was being able to pour into our ministry family. They were extraordinary. They sacrificed so much and insisted on serving us. Having the opportunity to serve them was incredible. I miss Brian and Ruth and their family very much.

IMG22794329ABBY: My favorite thing about this mission trip was helping our ministry hosts, Brian and Ruth and their family, and spending time the women and children they rescued.

It’s been a privilege to serve in this beautiful country.

JACOB: This spring I’m going on a mission trip to Peru for eight days and in the summer I’m hoping to go to Africa. I feel called to plant churches overseas.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Video, Come On, Won’t you Run Free? Nepal 2017, by teammate Miriam Meeks

And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:15 (NLT)

UP NEXT: It is my honor to interview and introduce you to Reverend Brian Williams and his wife Ruth of Agape Missions whose ministry Abby and Jacob served under on their mission trip to Nepal.

PART 1: #Disciple Maker~ A #Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in #Nepal “I am an Anglo-Indian… a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized…”

© 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

Pastor Appreciation, Halloween & The Reformation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month!

Don’t forget to show your pastors and their wives and families how much you appreciate them. But remember, it doesn’t have to be the designated month to show appreciation to your ministers and others in your life.

My pastor issued a challenge to our church this week to make a commitment to go out of our way to edify one another from now until the end of the year. He is hoping by then we will have developed a habit of it. I’m hoping you will consider accepting the challenge too.

For those who started following my blog less than a year ago, or any who wish to share my 2016 sixteen part series of interviews with pastors and wives from around the world, here are some excerpts and the links to a few of the posts.

Part 1:

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

It has cost me nothing yet everything. There is no price too great when serving the Lord.   -Pastor Wayne Shaffer,  New Life AG, Altoona PA

My will for the will of God.  -Pastor Patrick Jordan, The Door CFM,  Jamaica West Indies

What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today

People who like to wear the Christian badge, but that’s it. It’s part of their Facebook profile, but not part of their personal profile. They are not converted. -Pastor Chip Ganiear,  Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA

Continued at: Shepherd Princes & Sarah’s Daughters~ A Series of Interviews with Pastor & Pastors Wives from Around the World

Part 10 poems & link to post: What God Said

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I felt like he could look right through me. I couldn’t stand him….  My pastor is not perfect; he’s just a man, as are all preachers. But he’s the man God provided to shepherd my soul….  I’m not speaking of blind following. Pastor worshipers don’t do well in their walk with God, because sooner or later they wake up and realize the god they created has failed them, or offended them and they derail as their reference was on the man and not the God the man represents. Likewise, those who are like a horse who shies from his groomer when his bridle is reached for, refusing to be led, don’t fare well…  Continued at: I Call Him Pastor

Part 16:

What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?

Tolerance. Christians should be discriminating. They should exercise sound judgment; not no judgment. -Anonymous

What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?

Cultural relativism,

Biblical illiteracy,

Prayerlessness,

Fat baby syndrome from so little exercise,

Lack of spiritual curiosity,

Gun shy evangelists. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA

If you could tell your church anything about yourself, your family, or anything else what would it be? What’s on your heart?

I love the LORD Jesus and He is my rock and salvation, that what you “feel” in your heart might not be what is real in God’s word, that truth conquers lies and light dispels darkness and there is no sin that cannot be overcome by grace. This I would tell them… and so much more. -Pastor Michael Duncan, Author, Speaker, Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA

Continued at: A Fire in My Bones

Highlights from Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives from Around The World 2016 (You may need to pause the video to give yourself more time to read some of these slides)

Please consider using any of the variety of social media or the email button below my posts to share this series with other pastors, pastor’s wives or your church. (Tag a pastor or pastor’s wife:)

 

Some of  my upcoming posts will feature interviews with ministers and their wives so they, and their stories can receive the understanding, encouragement and appreciation they need and deserve.

Halloween and the Reformation and Some Freebies

Did you know that the day known by many as Halloween is also Reformation Day? On October 31st 1517, a young Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther,  posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, challenging several Roman Catholic practices and doctrines. This year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of this event that sparked the Protestant Reformation.

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The movie,  Luther by Torchlighters, tells His story and includes a documentary on Luther and the history of the Reformation. It was made for families and recommended for ages 8 and up.

Pastor’s wife and writer Rachel Schmoyer is sharing her free #Halloween #gospel kids tract for you to distribute. You can access the PDF download here:  https://rachelschmoyerwrites.com/2017/10/06/trick-or-treat-gospel-tract/

Please feel free to print and distribute my handout for Halloween also. Here is the PDF for it: Scarier tract

Scarier

Do you know what’s scarier than Halloween? What’s scarier than ghosts, goblins, witches, and horror movies? Scarier than your worst day ever. Do you know what’s scarier than the recent tragic headlines?

It’s spending eternity separated from the God who loves you so much. He put on human flesh, was born, and lived, and gave His life on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)

Jesus was born to die so we could live. He rose victorious over Hell, so you don’t have to go there, so you can know Him, to offer you salvation and Heaven as your eternal home.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Do You Know Him? Do you want this?

Salvation is there for the asking. If you’re ready, you can pray like this:

“Jesus, I believe you shed your blood, died on the cross, and rose from the dead for me. I repent of my sin. I ask you to forgive me and come into my heart. Help me to live for you in Jesus’ name, amen.”

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

If you prayed, it is important that you find a church home that preaches the full gospel, so you can grow in your faith and have the fellowship and support of other believers. Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Christian_Fellowship_Ministeries_CFMThis site may be able to help you find one:      http://www.worldcfm.com/

You can also link to my page Redemption Center for more on salvation and to my post where I respond to the often asked question: How can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

Echoes (Nepal Mission Trip Report)

Yes! I’m almost finished with my Nepal article. It will be posted early this coming week.

I sent the following to a friend as I stayed up working on the Nepal article last night. Prayer is my therapy. Sometimes I pray on paper.

Bit by Bit

Tipity-tap, tipity-tap.

Bit by bit.

Just lay one word down.

Then another, and another.

Each builds upon the other.

Line on line.

I think I can, I think I can.

Help me, Jesus- Here goes.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Plinkity-plink.

Plink.

It’s 5am.

Tipity-tap, tipity-tap, tipity-tap… 🙂

Hey, writer, do you frequently pull late nights and all-nighters too?

To my friends who faithfully pray for me as I write—Thank you. I need you. I feel your prayers.

*Echoes (Nepal Mission Trip Report) will be posted this coming week.

© 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart