Tag

faith

Switchback

By | Blog, Involve, Personal

Sometimes you feel like you’re taking a step backward.  Other times 2 steps forward and 1 step back.  Other times, just chasing your tail in circles.  Today is a switchback.


 

A switchback takes the long way to go a short distance.

But because the grade is steep, it’s too difficult or dangerous to tackle head on.


 

A switchback is a road where it’s hard to see around the bend.


 

Spiritually speaking, a switchback is a process for us to keep moving forward and put our trust in God.

He knows the reasons even when we don’t.

He sees the destination even when we can’t.

He puts value in the process despite our desire to avoid it.

He uses the switchback to help refine character, develop patience and perseverance, increase humility and dependence – all while keeping us safe in the palm of His hand.


Today is a switchback because Lovekin didn’t get to go see the specialists, we don’t have a treatment plan, we don’t know anything more than we did yesterday.  Another day of nothing.  My heart is restless, but I know He is present.  As present for her as He is for me.  God doesn’t ask me to like it.  It is.


 

Keep praying; stay faithful.  Keep your eyes on Him, all the way around the bend.


 

Photo credit: Chris Harnish

Heartache

By | Blog, Involve, Personal

Lovekin was born in August 2015. Her mother died a few weeks afterward due to complications from childbirth, and most likely from AIDS.  Her father was not involved in her life and her grandmother is struggling to care for her and cannot afford to feed her.  When we met her she was malnourished and had a fever and a variety of minor medical ailments.  To avert her grandmother deserting her, the Chanje Movement engaged in her life and took care of her immediate needs, including baby formula and medication.

We were in the intake process for Lovekin at Chanje Lakay in hopes of saving her life when we discovered she is HIV positive.  Our shelter is not equipped to deal with the care for her, so we are actively trying to find her a home where she will have the best care.  She is a delicate bundle of joy despite the circumstances of her early life. She has a sweet, contemplative demeanor and loves to be held!

We have created a designated fund for Lovekin to provide for her needs in the weeks, months and (prayerfully) years to come.  In the event that the generosity of donors outlasts her life, the remaining funds will be used to care for other Haitian babies and children who are HIV positive.

We will be posting actively as her story unfolds…

The Beauty of “No”

By | Blog, Envision, Equip

Three things happen when you say no to an opportunity, invitation or appointment.

First, you create margin in your life.  When we say yes to too many things – even good things – we fill our schedules and lives beyond our capacity.  You’ve probably heard the expression, “the good is the enemy of the best.”  One has to say no to appointments, invitations and other opportunities to leave margin in life.  For the person living within appropriate margins, when something excellent comes along, he or she can say YES.  For the person juggling all the balls in the air, adding another thing simply means something else must fall.  Wouldn’t you rather be ready for the best than under a pile with the rest?

Second, when you say no, you make room for God’s peace and leadership in your life.  Remember the scripture that begins God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble? Just a few verses later, the psalmist prescribes how to find your rest in His fortress: Be still and know that I am God.  The visual of the peaceful, empty park bench also communicates that quietness; He offers us communion with Him when we cease striving.  When we say yes too often, we don’t have time to pray, to connect with the Lord, to discern His path for our lives and relationships.

Third, saying no develops your character.  My friend Don recently shared a quote with me from a Sunday sermon he heard years ago: “The rejection of adversity is the mark of an immature soul.”  Think about it… aside from the unrealistic dream of vast lottery winnings, there really is no “something for nothing” of true value in this world.  Victory in virtually everything with high value is accomplished through adversity.  Even in salvation, we receive Christ by grace alone through faith alone, but remember the price Jesus paid on our behalf.  My character needs me to say no to easy but meaningless ventures and to say yes to challenges with depth and worth.  Too often we shy away.  When we say yes to the boring, the mundane and the mediocre, we reject healthy growth and maturity.

Reject the lie that being over-capacity honors God or is useful.  Good stewardship of my life isn’t visible in a hectic and frenetic schedule.  My decision to say no clears away the detritus and pollution of my life, and frees me up to be the person God wants me to be.

No can actually be very beautiful.  When free to choose, take your margin, peace of mind and maturity into consideration, and ask the Lord for guidance.  He always leads faithfully.

I Met Messiah

By | Blog, Envision, Media

Our big news of the month is the release of our founder’s testimony, filmed by One For Israel and Chosen People Ministries.  This is one of 50 life stories of Jewish people coming to know Jesus that are being watched and shared by millions of people around the world.

Spread the Word - Share the Video

  • This video is being released TODAY and we need your help.  We need you to watch it, and to go on social media and share it.  The best way to do this is to go to facebook.com/oneforisrael, find his video near the top and click on the Share button.  Just write a quick note to accompany it that explains why you’re sharing it.  If you have trouble finding it (for instance, you’re reading this a while after it was written) you can always visit I Met Messiah.
  • Please do this right now and help accelerate the story so that it catches fire!  This has already happened with one story with over 5 million views.  It’s not about fame – we simply want to get the Gospel to as many people as possible!  Video testimonies of Jewish believers are very powerful to both Jew and Gentile.
  • You will see how effective these tools are, as we help the worldwide Jewish community see how Jewish the Gospel truly is.  Jesus is Jewish, his original disciples were Jewish, the Scriptures are Jewish….  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wants to use all of us to reach all the world!
  • Without the Gospel, there is no hope.  We are grateful for your agreement and faithful prayer and financial partnership.  Together, we are joining Jesus in seeking and saving the lost!

Hold Your Ground

By | Blog, Envision, Headfirst, Media, Personal

Don’t give in to the Grinch this holiday season.  He’s all over social media telling you how bad things are, then topping the last story with a new video or meme.  Tis the season to pile on, right?  I’m not suggesting this world is good; it’s not.  It’s corrupted by sin, death and disease.  But in God, we have a Father who gives His children good gifts.  We have a Savior who redeems us and brings reconciliation between men and God.  We have the Spirit who fills and empowers us to live righteously for His purposes.  Hold your ground: choose faith, hope and love!

Identify the blessings in your life and celebrate them.  If you can’t find enough, celebrate with a brother or sister who will share them with you.

Here’s my own Thanksgiving offering for you – the video overview from our recent Men’s Mission to Haiti.  Stay till the end – it’s worth every (free) penny.

httpvh://vimeo.com/112757027

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.  Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. (James 1:2-5)

Grinch = bad.  God = good!

A Fertile Soil

By | Envision

Jesus taught the parable of the soils on multiple occasions (also known as the parable of the sower) as recorded three times in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  (Yes, if you read the context, they’re not simply synoptic reprints – they are different events.)  He concludes the teaching by inviting those with a thirst for God to pay heed by saying “Let him who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  While this saying may be familiar to many, the intent is overlooked.  Certainly all those in the audience physically had the appendage known as an ear.  In fact, a pair of them.  But Jesus points out that many who have ears don’t use them to listen to truth – they don’t listen to what is important.  Are their hearts available or are they closed off?  He asks his audience to pay attention, because their part in the Kingdom is at stake.

So what is so important to know?  What is it that Jesus wants us to pay attention to, above the noise and distraction of the world?

First, God loves everyone, whether they love Him back or not, whether they even pay attention to Him.  He’s bringing His Word to them and He is extravagant with His generosity.  The sower scatters seed everywhere.  Not just on this spot or that; these regions but not those areas.  Every type of soil receives seed.  Is that wasteful of God to preach His Gospel everywhere?  Is it wasteful if Jesus died for the sins of people who would reject Him?  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16.)  But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8.)

Jesus wants us to know that He loves us regardless of whether we love Him back.  Pure grace.  An unqualified gift.

Second, people respond differently to God, and there are rewards and consequences of how we respond.  The beautiful part of God’s love is that we must receive Christ’s sacrifice for us through grace, by faith.  It’s not forced upon us, nor is obedience imprinted in our souls.  There is only one type of soil that the Word will thrive in and bear fruit.  So you actually play a part in determining what type of soil you are.

Jesus wants people to know that He loves them, He is available to them, and they need to respond to Him.  Some won’t listen, some won’t respond.  Some will receive Him and become mature and bear great fruit.  Are you open to that?  Do you have ears to hear?

 

What Love Can Do

By | Blog, Envision, Media

Having recently met worship leader Aaron Blanton at Crossline Church, and having heard him perform the song he wrote What Love Can Do as an acoustic piece, it was a joy to discover that our Creative Director, Jacob Hart, asked him for and received permission to use his song in the soundtrack to our most recent mission team’s video.  Aaron was a founding member of the band Sonicflood, and you might recognize this song from the call-to-action movie Not Today, in which recording artist Kari Jobe sings the arrangement that he and James Tealy put together.  The lead-in song is Audio Adrenaline‘s Kings & Queens.

The team we sent this month was part of The Chanje Movement, the humanitarian outreach of The Global Mission.

Enjoy and share!

httpvh://www.vimeo.com/73106653

Video recorded and produced by Jacob Hart on behalf of The Global Mission

Cobblestones

By | Envision

It’s a cold, rainy morning in Jerusalem. The cobblestones are wet, making each step slick and treacherous, as we weave our way through the alleys of the Old City. From Jaffa Gate toward the Western Wall, we pass through the Armenian Quarter into the Jewish Quarter, making our way down to the plaza. Young students, pilgrims, tourists, the religious, and the indifferent all jumble together past the vendors and the beggars, moving through the narrow passageways and descending the stairs, yet keeping their distinct identities. Now the words of the Scriptures are ever clearer, describing all the nations here at the center of the universe. Not simply Arabs, Jews and Gentiles, but “Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs.” (Acts 2:5-11a)

The city is awe-inspiring, the archeology breath-taking, the complexity unfathomable. And the God of the people who built it far more so. “Who shall I say sent me?” asked Moses, and the answer was “I AM.” (Exodus 3:13-14.) More than fourteen hundred years later, Jesus answered the leaders of Jerusalem by ascribing this same name to Himself: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) Only a handful of moons passed between this proclamation, and Jesus dragging a cross down the Via Dolorosa, having been unjustly condemned, scourged and sentenced to death. These cobblestones, now two thousand years further into the future, are worn beneath our feet, and we preach that same message of salvation proclaimed by Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Yeshua, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yeshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:36-39)

O Father, that my people would indeed be cut to the heart, that the veils would fall from their eyes, and that they would truly repent and receive the Lord and forgiveness for their sins.

Just a Day

By | Envision

In the last 24 hours, we:[arrow_list]

  • Got off a plane
  • Fed a family that hadn’t eaten all day
  • Paid for a boy’s funeral
  • Provided food for hundreds of children in Cite Soleil
  • Met with the mayor
  • Taught a young believer how to study the Bible
  • Looked at property to shelter abandoned children
  • Empowered a local pastor who is evangelizing his community
  • Gave hope to a woman who has been fearful and alone
  • Got kissed by a grandfather for bringing him a gift
  • Delivered donated clothes to the unemployed providing an income and a job
  • Had our hearts broken again for Haiti
  • Conspired to bring the Gospel and see transformation in the nations[/arrow_list]

It’s been a good day.

Bringing Chanje

By | Envision, Headfirst, Involve, Media

Chanje is the Haitian Creole word for change – for transformation.  We’ve seen the Lord move so dramatically in Haiti this past year, that we’ve begun calling what we do there a “Chanje Movement.”  Being a part of the transformation means being available to the Lord to change myself, my community and my world, however He directs.  This month, we had an amazing team of people participating in that movement.  Some of those highlights are in the video below, and as things progress we will continue to post the stories, photos and videos of transformation in Haiti.

Chanje Movement team in Haiti, August 2012