Missions

Good News In Peru

Peru

Rather than write a devotional today. A life-long missionary and dear friend has posted an amazing story of salvation in Peru. If you can, please visit “A Passion for Missions“. You will be blessed!

Photo by Catherine A G M on Unsplash

In a world of Enochs, we need some Abrahams.

picture of a traveler in a crowded street.

Abel, Enoch, and Noah all worshipped God. Abraham worshipped idols (Joshua 24:2). Abel, Enoch, and Noah all worshipped God but God didn’t choose them to recover what was lost by Adam; Abraham was. In our world, we need some Abrahams.

Abraham grew up worldly. He was just an ordinary guy. Then God called him. Abraham had a couple of false starts, which is typical. Our old ways die hard.

However, once he put his full trust in God, Abraham wouldn’t settle for anything less than what came from God (Genesis 14:23), and he wouldn’t keep anything that belonged to God (Hebrews 7:1-2).

We learn more about Abraham in Hebrews 11:9-10 (NIV): “By faith he dwelt in the promised land as a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Even in the land of God’s promise, Abraham wouldn’t build a house; he wouldn’t build a city. Abraham wouldn’t buy any land except a small plot for Sarah’s grave. He exercised no privileges. 

We Need Enochs

This world has many Christians that faithfully walk with God. These Christians are Enochs. They worship God, fellowship, attend men’s prayer breakfasts, or women’s retreats. They have memorized favorite Bible verses and participated in Bible Bowls, and this is good, and this is right, and this is important. We need to celebrate these fine Christians. With that said, I’ve noticed that the Church needs more Abrahams.

The Church needs Abrahams that will hear God’s call and go out into the unknown. That will carry the burden for what Adam lost. That will allow God to work through them to take back what Jesus paid for with his blood.

We need Abrahams that have a fire in them. Abrahams that look for a city built by God and not man. That see humanity’s works for what they are, pale shadows of God’s greatness.

We need some Abrahams that will leave their homeland and go into the land to which God has called them and do the work to which God has called them.

We need Enochs, but we need more Abrahams. Ask, and Jesus will give you a people, a place, and a purpose.


Photo by Steven Lewis on Unsplash

You may also be interested in this post: https://rockexcavationservice.org/trying-sea-eel-soup/

Demonstrate Jesus to People

God blessed me with the opportunity to play a small part in transitioning some Romanian girls from the pits of desperation to productive lives by learning a trade to earn a living.

Back in the 1990s, we set up a small ministry to help transition older orphans out of Romania’s Orphanages and into Romanian society. We rescued three girls, provided them with supervised housing, and found jobs for them in a bakery where they could develop the skills to be bakers.

The group which we targeted were orphans that were already out of the system and were living in horrible conditions. From that group of three girls, one returned to her old ways while the other two continued for some time, working within the ministry of a local, American missionary. Eventually, the second girl struck out on her own, and the third girl married an American, Christian man and moved to the States.

All three were given the same opportunities, treated the same way, and received individual Christian counseling. Still, one returned to a life of sin, one became a productive member of Romanian society, and one clung to Jesus.

When I first met them, this third girl seemed to be mentally disabled. She spoke very little, was very backward, and even had a kind of blank look on her face. However, we discovered these symptoms were from trauma; Jesus healed her. She eventually became herself; she was a person that loved Jesus.

So, what did we learn from this program? We saw first hand Matthew 13:3-9: Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

We had three of the four in our small group. We didn’t have the one among thorns. We can’t change people; only God can do that. Still, it’s our job to demonstrate Jesus to people, to give our time, talents, and treasures to reach people for Jesus, and to not just talk about Jesus but to live as Jesus lived; to put everything we have, including life, itself, on the line for Jesus.

In the whole of this world, there is nothing more valuable than a single person being saved by placing their faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior. We should filter all of our decisions through this truth.

Photo by Emma Van Sant on Unsplash

I know my redeemer lives

Below is an article from Open Doors USA about Christian churches that remain in Syria. How can people stay in such an oppressive environment? And, even so, how can they dare to serve Jesus?

You know the answer. We find it in the oldest book of the Old Testament; the book of Job. Here’s what Job said. It’s what motivates our brothers and sisters in Syria and it is what motivates us, here in our ever increasingly oppressive environment.

Job 19:25-27 New International Version (NIV)
25 I know that my redeemer lives,     
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,     
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him     
with my own eyes—I, and not another.     
How my heart yearns within me!

As Bombs Explode, Syrian Pastor Makes Dangerous Choice to Bring Hope – Open Doors USA

Throughout Syria, churches have stayed open and become Centers of Hope–led by men and women of deep faith.

While you may think that churches ceased to exist in the region, through your prayers and support throughout Syria, churches have stayed open since the war started. Led by men and women of deep faith like Father Abdallah and his wife, Aghna, several churches have even turned their buildings (or rented new spaces) into Centers of Hope where they can feed the hungry, dress the needy, comfort the weeping and share the gospel. Below, Pastor Abdallah looks back at the last eight years and shares what’s happening now.Learn more here:

As Bombs Explode, Syrian Pastor Makes Dangerous Choice to Bring Hope – Open Doors USA April 2, 2019 byLindy Lowry in Middle EastStories of Persecution

Honey, I wrote a new psalm!

I wonder if King David ran home to tell his wife, “Honey, I just wrote my 23rd Psalm, and I think it will be a hit!” Not.

Great works of God usually have simple beginnings and are rarely understood to be profound. Nevertheless, God often uses small things to birth unexpected world movements.

If we just look at Western culture over the past 150 years there have been three “Great Awakenings”, several “Outpouring of the Holy Spirit”, and other amazing works of God that started from “unimportant” people, and grew into national and global movements that still glorify Jesus and advance God’s kingdom, today.

We remember names like William Wilberforce, John and Charles Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, William J. Seymour, Smith Wigglesworth, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and many others. There was nothing exceptional about them that we would have seen.

Take William J. Seymour for example. He was an African American, holiness preacher. Blind in one eye, Pastor Seymour was the second of eight children born to emancipated slaves and raised in extreme poverty in Louisiana. But, unlike the rest of the world, God chose him for a ministry more significant than he would ever have imagined. God used him to start the Azusa Street Revival.

An example of God’s handiwork is the Revival of 1800 in Logan County, Kentucky, which began as a traditional Presbyterian sacramental occasion. This meeting grew to a more significant meeting the next year and is generally considered to be America’s first camp meeting. Held at Cane Ridge in Bourbon County, Kentucky, under Barton W. Stone (1772–1844), numerous Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist ministers participated in the services. The six-day gathering attracted perhaps as many as 20,000 people.

A more recent example is “The People of Praise” Christian community. They have grown into a global movement that has brought powerful new experiences of the Holy Spirit to more than 500 million people since the beginning of the 20th century.

This movement started with 29 people in South Bend, IN, which covenanted themselves to one another and to God. The People of Praise was very much involved in the growth of charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church. There, this renewal has touched millions, including more than 30 percent of U.S. Catholics, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

From this history of exceptional revivals and anointed individuals has come the end of slavery in the British Empire, labor laws to protect workers, numerous missions boards and missionaries, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), colleges and universities, and mainline denominations such as the Wesleyans and Assemblies of God.

Revivals still break out, occasionally. The Toronto Airport revival and the Pensacola, Florida revival come to mind. Will God touch a life, affect a small group, and grow a worldwide revival, again? I think He will. God is just looking for people with humble hearts (James 4:6) and faith the size of a mustard seed. When anyone surrenders their pride, gives their heart to Jesus, and is reborn, that new Christian may just be the catalyst this world needs to learn the good news of Jesus.

Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash

A note to my kids

I found this note tucked away in an old folder. I wrote it several years ago for my kids, but I don’t think I ever shared it with them. I’m not sure why. Anyway, as I was reading it, I was reminded of how fast time slips by. So, I decided to share it with you on the off-chance that it may be beneficial to you or someone in your world. If not, it’s only one minute of your life that you’ll never get back! Sorry for the geeky intro but all my kids are wired this way.

Dear Kids,

Seed dispersal is the movement or transport of seeds away from the parent plant. Plants have limited mobility and consequently rely upon a variety of dispersal vectors to transport their propagules, including both abiotic and biotic vectors. Seeds can be dispersed away from the parent plant individually or collectively, as well as dispersed in both space and time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed_dispersal

As I write this, it is just a couple of days before we celebrate the birthday of Joshua and Caleb. Now, at **, it’s still easy for me to remember their birth but, sometimes, difficult for me to remember their birth date. They were truly born into poverty but God, as always, fed us, sheltered us and nurtured us. We had no idea all the adventures that lay ahead.

As time has passed, one by one, you all have been dispersed to grow in your own patch of land. God never told Mom or me the transportation vector (abiotic or biotic) that you kids would take, but we knew dispersal was in your future so, in each of you, we tried to teach and prepare you and us for that day. And disperse you did, some individually and some, such as Joshua and Caleb, collectively at first.

Part of our preparation for each of you was the planting of God’s word into your life. We did this for you and we did this for others. We are, and ever will be, missionaries of the good news of Jesus. We carry that good news with us to share in our world and we planted it in you for you and for you to carry to those in your world.

Acts 8:4 (NIV) Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

Love,
Dad

Photo by Sebastian Mantel on Unsplash

Full Assurance

Two Romanian girls with a Hungarian missionary.
Alexander with two girls we rescued.

Let me tell you a brief story about a devout, young Christian man named Alexander. We will begin his story in the mid-1990s, in Budapest, the place where he and I first met. 

Alexander had been a wild, hard-partying young man before God got hold of his life. But, now, he was saved and freshly graduated from a Bible school established by William and his wife, dear friends, and missionaries, who God was using powerfully throughout Hungary. 

Although Alexander had paid his way through school, he and his family were so poor they couldn’t afford a down payment on a free meal. They were Hungarian-Romanians, eking out a living while devoting their lives to the service of Christ. Because of God’s love for them, they knew He had a plan for their lives.

Then I showed up. I’m sure I was not what Alexander had expected or hoped for. I was an untested missionary with empty pockets in a part of the world I had no real experience with. But God had placed a call on my life and at this point in time, God caused our lives to intersect.

We first met in his flat. It was a culture shock for me, seeing so many good, Godly people, so poor, so compacted into such a small space. My heart broke yet they were not complaining because they had hope.

As a new missionary in a new land, I needed a translator who could speak English, Romanian, and Hungarian. My friend, William, recommended Alexander because he not only had the skills but Alexander was also called by God to missions. So, in Alexander’s claustrophobic flat we made a covenant. Alexander and family would move with us to Romania.

That was a gigantic step of faith on the part of Alexander and his wife. And so we all moved. He helped us find a flat as well as one for him and his family. As things transpired, there was a time when, in our flat, my wife and I with four of my kids lived with Alexander plus an additional missionary that had come with us. That was when I gained a better understanding of life in a destitute, post-communist country.

As time past, Alexander carried the brunt of the work of many missionaries. And, as his family grew so did his effectiveness as a missionary in his own right. Since those first humble beginnings, Alexander has ministered to hundreds upon hundreds of people, countless missionaries, and has ministered in countries throughout Europe and even in Africa.

What would have happened if he had not walked in faith through Bible college, uprooted his family to work with an untested missionary, or yielded his job description as interpreter to being whatever was needful?

When I read his facebook posts and see his family I think back to that crowded little apartment and the decision he made by faith in Jesus, his Lord. And, I’m reminded of what God said in Hebrews 10:22  (NIV),  “...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Truly, I have seen this Scripture alive right before my eyes in the life of my friend.

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